For me, the beauty of changing myself versus changing my partner is that I feel empowered to be a driver in the relationship I am in. When I focus on changing my wife, I am often left feeling frustrated, helpless and somewhat of a victim in the situation. When I have the wisdom to focus on me and my role in the problem, I experience being grounded, in control of myself and aware of what I want to do about it.
It makes a lot of sense on paper right? What does this guy think is so special about this idea? Everybody knows that you can’t make other people change. Sure we do. But why do we keep trying to change our partners to be the way we want them to be? Why do we go to such great lengths to make it easier for them to change so we don’t have to? Every couple, without exception, comes into my office hoping I will help fix their partner. Hoping that I will say something, do something to make the other change. God knows they’ve tried, and they’ve run out of ideas.
Consider that changing your behavior is the path to getting your partner to make the changes in their behavior. If you want your partner to give you what you want, try giving them what they want. Not at the expense of yourself or sacrificing what is truly important to you. You must also honor yourself. Bring your best self to the table. Work to make the changes in yourself, so that you can honestly say:
“I feel good about who I am with you. I am willing to be with my part and be responsible for it. I am willing to change myself in order to make our journey together as loving and fulfilled as possible. I am willing to go to work on myself in order to give you the experience of being loved. Being my best version of myself with you is my commitment, and my greatest expression of myself. It is the loving person I have always wanted to be most in relationship.”
Change yourself because that is how you get what you want. It is how you give your partner what they want. Try making the changes they are asking you to and see what happens. Stop waiting for them to change. Start working on you. This is not a tit for tat game. Life wasn’t fair before you met this person, and it still isn’t. Waiting for the other to move an inch before you move your next inch is a losing strategy. Get to work on you, and if it’s still not where you want it, then get back to work. If you have been living the paragraph in quotes with authenticity for some time and your partner is still not shifting, then it may be an appropriate time to evaluate whether or not you are getting enough out of the relationship to compensate for what you are not getting.
The take home message is work on yourself. Work on being awesome. Work on being your best self with everyone. Give up on changing the other person. It will be a nice break for them at a minimum. Focus on you.