How to Bring About Change Without Fighting

Sometimes it is very difficult to be around others when they don’t see things the way that you do, or if their actions bring about undesired consequences that you don’t agree with. Often, this leads to an argument which only creates distance, with both sides feeling that their side is the right one. This can create rifts in our relationships with each other. To avoid this, we can reconsider the approach and win without a fight.

Don’t Attack

When speaking with others and you want to get your point across, don’t put the other person on the defensive. If you link the person to what you’re debating, you’ve put them in a position where they will likely feel that they have to defend themselves, including the action or ideal that you feel is inappropriate or wrong. Instead, you have a better chance of getting your point across by asking if the person feels that such actions are right, or by directing the person to see the consequence of the habit or action. Bringing someone to see the harm that an action or habit causes, especially to others, is more effective than telling them that they are bad for doing the action. Helping someone to understand the results and consequences will go much further toward bringing change. Otherwise you are only programming them to see themselves as bad, potentially causing them to redefine themselves as that kind of person.

Lead by Example

We should surround ourselves with positive influences, and this includes others. If you have negative friends or coworkers with a sour attitude, this may inevitably influence you to change to meet the crowd. However, if you are conscious enough to recognize when you are in a negative environment, you can make an effort to sway the actions of others. You don’t need to point out what kind of person everyone else is, instead choose not to sink to their level. If your coworkers swear or smoke and you don’t, there is nothing wrong with choosing to not participate. People will rapidly realize what you will or won’t do, and the majority of people will quickly come to respect you and your decisions for staying true to your ideals. What is important here is that you don’t just outright judge them (this will encourage others to apply the negative environment back at you, which we are trying to avoid; often we like to knock people off their “better-than-you” pedestals). If they respect you, you will have some influence over them, if only that they may swear or smoke less around you. If you’re enough of an influence, you may find a person wanting to act differently around you, which will often lead to change. But keep in mind that if you are around a negative environment, it’s not an environment that will encourage others to change, it’s one that is more likely to change you. The environment needs to be a positive one to have the best chance of affecting the right kind of change.

Don’t Automatically Assume That Others Should Think Like You Do

We all have different influences in our lives, and different home environments. We all like different things, and we are not drawn to the same things. Once you realize this, it’s easier to respect another’s decisions if they choose to not believe like you do. May they aren’t wrong! Sometimes, you need to step away from trying to change others and respect their decisions. If the person truly feels justified in their actions or beliefs, maybe it is ourselves that need to be more introspective. When you can see through the other person’s eyes, you’ll be more empathetic to their feelings, and they’ll be more inclined to listen to you.

Above all, realize that the people you deal with have their own feelings and reasons for doing things, and to bring them around to your way of thinking should not be through tearing them down, but through respect and living by example.

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