Learning how to change your life is challenging under any circumstances. Learning how to change your life when you have a family (or other significant relationship) can feel straight-up impossible. You know you have uttered it at least once in your life – “I would, BUT [insert person of choice] does not like the idea.” When those we care about are not on board with our quest for change it can bring a number of challenges into our life. However, it does not need to be a reason for us to stop our process of growth. Challenge brings the opportunity to learn to be more and more graceful and effective in our process. Here are some tips on how.
Start with the easy stuff: When we’re in a place of change and feeling resistance you might find yourself digging trenches and preparing yourself for battle before every push. Hold the trenches! Figuring out how to change your life when you have a family that hates change will be a challenge, but not every one of those changes needs to be. There are plenty of changes you can make – for yourself and your loved one(s) – that will likely go totally unnoticed by your family. Broaden your perspective of the field and start with these smaller hurdles. Your success will empower you and might even help your loved one see (in retrospect) that change isn’t always hard or bad.
Stay the course: Here’s an truth for you – It is impossible to be untrue to yourself and be fully in relationship. (Yep. Read it again if you need to.) As soon as you discredit your own needs you actually withdraw parts of yourself from the relationship. So, when you find yourself meeting that resistance to change from a loved one, remind yourself that fighting for what is right and true for you is the best way for you to be a part of your relationship with them. They might not realize that their resistant behavior is damaging (to you and them) because it limits how much of yourself you can contribute to the relationship. But you do. So stay the course. Keep moving in the direction of your personal transformation. Trust that no matter the outcome this is the path to sharing even more love.
Educate: Sometimes people are against things simply because they do not have enough information to be with them. If you want your loved one to be on board for your process of transformation, you need to help educate them about the process and why it is important to you. It is also helpful if you educate them about how they can be most supportive. And it doesn’t hurt to explain – if they somehow don’t realize this – the way that your happiness and wellbeing influence them through your relationship. Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Give your person (or people) the chance to do their best, just as you are trying to do.
Maybe they are not the problem: It is worth reiterating that – quite often – what we think is resistance by someone in our life is actually our own resistance. If you find yourself saying “I can’t ___” because of someone important in your life, take a minute to check in. Where is the resistance coming from? Maybe it isn’t about how to change your life when you have a family. Maybe it’s about how to change your life, in general. Rephrase the situation in positive terms and possessive language. Try saying “I am choosing to __ because __.” Instead of saying that your loved one is the reason you can’t. How does this feel? With your loved one out of the equation for a moment, can you better see your own role? Ask yourself what needs to change inside of you for you to feel good about taking your next steps.
It can be challenging to engage in our own process of change and stay in healthy relationship with those we love. In order to have both the joy of our own self and the joy of relationship, it is necessary to figure out how to make both work. In your own life, try implementing these tips on how to change your life when you have a family that hates change. Do you have other suggestions of things you’ve tried in your own life that have worked? Share them in the comments below!
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