Bad Habits

How to Change Someone you Love

All of us wish to change the people we love for the better, but in many cases, no matter how hard we try, we find it impossible to change someone unless he really wants to.

Some people try to use criticism to change the person they love. Still, after a short while, the negative emotions associated with the criticism become unbearable to the other person, and so the attempt fails.

Change always comes from within; this means that unless a person becomes 100% convinced that change is good for him, he won’t change. So how can you motivate someone you love to change on his own? This is what I am going to tell you in this article.

The self-concept

The self-concept is defined as the way someone views himself. If a person thinks that he is a thief, he will keep stealing money as long as possible. The person will keep stealing money because his self-concept made him believe that this is the thing that he should be doing.

Our self-concept highly controls our behavior to the extent that we will strive to prove our existing self-concepts true even if there were bad consequences associated with our actions. The person who believes that he is less worthy than others (self-concept) will always try to compare himself to others to solidify this self-concept further unfavorably.

What do you think will happen if a parent kept encouraging his child by telling him that “He is brilliant in math”? If the message were repeated enough times, the child would develop a self-concept of being good at math and will do his best to maintain this status.

This child might study more, concentrate more in math classes and play less to maintain his self-concept.

Changing someone you love by changing his self-concept

To change someone you love, you must not criticize him, but instead, you must praise him for helping him form a new self-concept. Once this happens, the person will do his best to change independently without making any extra effort.

If you kept telling your alcoholic husband that he is strong and that a strong person like him should never let such a habit control him, he will eventually build a new self-concept and break the habit. Criticism only lets people solidify their already existing poor self-concept and prevents them from changing the bad habits!!

You must put in mind one essential thing while trying to change someone, the new self-concept you are implementing in his mind must be appealing to him and at the same time believable.

For example, if the person you love is successful at work but can’t quit a certain habit, you should tell him that a successful person like him should be successful in breaking habits.

In this case, he will surely believe you because you provided him with solid proof (his career success)

How to change stubborn people

Contrary to common beliefs, stubborn people are flexible, but they just become stubborn when they feel that someone is trying to control them. A stubborn person is not stubborn 100% of the time, but when he finds that someone is trying to force him to do something, his defense mechanisms start working.

If the person you love is stubborn, then you can still change him by 1) giving him more than one choice instead of forcing him 2) making gradual small changes every day that are too small to be noticed but are big enough to make a change happen over time.

Changing someone by understanding the underlying cause

Most people fail to break bad habits because they deal with the wrong root causes.

Some people drink to escape the pain others smoke to kill stress, while a third group uses drugs to escape depression. In these cases, pain, stress, and depression are the root causes and are the things that need to be changed instead of the habit itself.

When the root cause disappears, the bad habit will disappear by itself, but if the root cause remained, it would shortly return even if the habit was broken.

In short, to change someone you love, you must first understand the underlying reasons behind his behavior then help him change them.

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