Changing Another Person LO19880

Richard Charles Holloway (
Mon, 16 Nov 1998 16:27:03 -0800

Replying to LO19854 --


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on changing another person. You've
articulated my concerns and misgivings quite well.

It's been quite interesting reading the responses so far--the reactions
are like ripples from the first dropped stone.

Rightly or wrongly, I've become more convinced of a few things over the
past few years. One is that I can only effectively change one
person--myself. The second is that if I want to truly influence others, I
need to do it with my life. The third is that I need to find my own
balance, my own purpose and my own center and live within myself--rather
than attempt to change others.

I know that it is appropriate to ask people to behave in a way appropriate
to the situation, and to separate yourself (or your organization or
community) from those whose behavior is so inappropriate (criminal) that
it cannot be condoned. I don't believe that it's ever appropriate to ask
people to change what they believe. It is appropriate, often, to talk
about our get to know one foster the
connections between us that are so critical to developing communities and
societies and organizations and families.

I know that it sounds simplistic, but the way to influence a teenager is
to set boundaries (standards of behavior) and consequences for stepping
outside the boundary. It's even possible to ask the teenager(s) to
participate in setting boundaries and consequences in a negotiated
process. The most important part of this, I think, is to acknowledge the
possibilities that each member of the family might make mistakes (both in
behavior and judgment). The extent for which we care for one
another...and the respect we give to each other (by recognizing
boundaries, goals and consequences) will determine how effectively we cope
with these growing pains. My own experience is one of awe and relief that
we managed to make it to their (my children's) adulthood, and still
maintain very loving relationships with one another. There were times I
wasn't sure that we would...or that we wanted to!

I am very skeptical of people who want to change others...I even suspect
that it's a compensating characteristic. I delight, though, in the warmth
and love of people who create a safe environment for people to develop
their own capacity for power and self-directed change. I also appreciate
those who challenge my ideas and beliefs--if it's done in a respectful and
caring fashion. (Too many feel the need to denigrate others' ideas and
beliefs). This can be a wonderful way to help people find themselves,
whether they grow in the strength of their belief systems or change their
philosophy with time. I find both sorts on this list...indeed, this list
is an integral part of my self-transition, so all of you who share your
thoughts and beliefs have influenced me in some way of which you are

And this is what I find true about your statement, Rick, that we cannot
reliably know how we influence others. Personal mastery is an attempt to
optimize this factor, I think, but my influence works in ways that I
cannot predict or manage or control. It is a butterfly winging it's way
in a complex world where droughts and floods may both be the outcomes of
my words or deeds or inaction.

"The mystery, the essence of all life is not separate from the silent openness
of simple listening." -Toni Parker

Thresholds <> Meeting Masters <> Richard Charles Holloway - P.O. Box 641, Long Beach, WA 98631 Voice 360.642.8487 ICQ# 10849650

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