Several times throughout our lives we encounter people we feel just do not “get it.” We spend nights, days, weeks, months, and years crying over people, things, and situations we just could not seem to change. We’ve called/text several friends and family members to vent to them about all the other dreadful things this other person has done to us and they’ve probably given the, “it’s not you it’s them” speech; while that speech may have made us feel good for the moment, it never seemed to change things. So what’s the key to changing other people? CHANGE YOURSELF!
There was this person whom I always seemed to be at odds with. I felt as though no matter what I did that was right, they always seemed to find what I was doing wrong. A co-worker. I responded to them in the same manner I felt they responded to me and wouldn’t let them treat me unfairly. Pride. Nearly lost my job with that attitude. Something had to give. I realized the only thing I could change in that situation was myself. I prayed that God changed this person but God was more interested in working on MY character instead.
So I changed how I looked at this person. I tried to view them through the same lens of grace and love that God views me. I made up my mind that I would NOT have another term go by with the way things had been before; this one WOULD be better because I would help make it so. I was in high spirits all the time at work no matter how tired and frustrated I was. A once forced smile effortlessly became part of my daily garments. I greeted them and everyone with a smile and positive vibes and left the same. Eventually I felt I was not pretending to be positive anymore, I was. I was not pretending to be happy, I had joy. I had found peace. I went above and beyond my duties and my work ethic greatly improved. The very person that seemed to have so many issues with me, began to speak highly of me to others. I was shocked when I learned of it. I was asked, “What did you do?; this person looks at you so differently now, you’ve changed in their eyes!” I changed MY attitude.
Major layoffs soon saturated my job. The very person I had been in cahoots with for a while had vouched for me in such a way that my name never even came up during the process. I had a meeting with this person and they told me, “I just could not have you go, I told them that you were one of my best. I needed and wanted you to stay here, you really know your stuff. I couldn’t see you go.” I was literally speechless, VERY shocked, honored, and blown away by that. I tried to fight back tears. I thanked them and told them how much that meant to me to hear them say that. Look at GOD! A person who was once an advocate for being rid of me by any means necessary became a great ally when I needed them most. All because I CHANGED. Turned the other cheek to things I would have been offended by. My new attitude also made me feel good about myself. I felt anchored: not moved to and from on the whim of an emotion. Changing my attitude made them change their view and interaction with me, so it seemed to me that THEY also changed. An answered prayer, but I had to be part of the solution.
Changing your attitude is not about faking it, it’s about trying to make a conscious effort to be “the light” no matter how uncomfortable it seems at first. Coming into any light after being in a dark place will make your eyes hurt and feel uncomfortable but that discomfort is short lived as your body adjusts and adapts to unfamiliar terrain. The longer you are in that light, the more it becomes natural. Here’s a few focal points and scripture to help.
-“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.
-You can bring people to God by your change of heart-(Paul who formerly persecuted Christians) “They only heard the report: The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. And they praised God because of me.” Galatians 1:23-24.
-Things will occur that will cause you grief but since you cannot control others, you need to have control over your own anger to de-escalate things…“Fools give vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Proverbs 29:11.
-Don’t listen just to have a response, listen to UNDERSTAND a situation…“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
-Whenever negative thoughts come creeping in to de-rail you, “whatever is noble and praiseworthy, think about such things.”
-Don’t let your pride hold you back. We know what follows pride, destruction. Be the bigger person EVERY TIME. God deals more with the heart of the person that knows better.
Become the change you wish to see in others. You only have control of yourself, no one else. You’d be amazed at what doors will open to you once you change your perspective and seek what you should learn from a situation rather than what you are offended by. You will gain more PEACE and that will inspire change in those around you. They will be drawn to you as people are naturally drawn towards light. You will begin to see mannerisms in others come to fruition that you’ve never deemed possible. So the key to “changing them” is to change YOU. The world will tell you, “Do unto others what they do to you” but The Word says, “Be not conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewal of YOUR mind…” So go forth and be the light!