Love or Manipulation?

“I can do nothing but work on myself. You can do nothing but work on yourself.” – Ram Dass

When you love someone it’s natural to want the best for him or her. The problem is, it’s impossible to know what’s best for another person.

You may think you know, but the truth is, wanting someone else to change is a subtle form of manipulation.

Even though it seems to be motivated by love or the desire for someone to feel better, be better, or do better, when you take an honest look, what will you find is one of the following attitudes:

  1. Self-righteousness: I am better than you (and here is how you can be more like me).
  2. Judgment: What you are doing is wrong (and here is how you can be right).
  3. Lack of self-control: I need you to be different (so that I can feel better).

Your first response may be to reject this idea, but I encourage you to put it to the test.

Think about someone you would like to change, meaning you wish they behaved differently in some way. It could be a parent, a child, a mate, a boss, a coworker, or a neighbor.

Ask yourself why you want them to change.

Whatever answer you come up with, ask yourself why you want that.

Keep asking why, until you bring the answer all the way home to yourself.

What is it that you want for yourself in their changed behavior?

At the heart of whatever it is is your desire to feel better, which is why learning how to do that is the best thing you can do.

So how do you do that?

A few weeks ago, I shared some strategies to help you Feel Better Now. You can download the cheat sheet here.

Another way to do it is to learn to love and accept yourself.

Loving and accepting yourself makes it easier to love and accept others.

When you are happy with yourself and confident in who you are (flaws and all), you are kinder, more compassionate, and more patient with yourself - and others.

You can meet your own emotional needs without someone else having to do it for you.

When you let go of judgment and criticism toward yourself, a natural by-product is your willingness to allow others to be as they choose to be.

All of the important work we do is on ourselves.

If you ready to do the important work, schedule time with me here.


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