“It is tempting to think that in order to change our experience of our world we need to force others to change. Such thinking is an abdication of our power to change ourselves.” ~Michael Lee (Founder, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy)
I’ve spent so much of life trying to force others to change in order for my experience of my own world to change. I have many years worth of experience to show that this approach does not work. As I have worked on my co-dependency issues, I’ve gradually been letting go of this pattern in the attempt to replace unhelpful and unproductive patterns with new ones that actually work.
Even as I’ve worked on releasing this pattern, though, I’ve never thought of it as an abdication of my power to change myself; I’ve only focused on the fact that it isn’t working for me. But the moment I read this quote, I recognized it as the truth. If I think someone else needs to change in any way in order for my life to change, then I am giving up my power to change myself. I am making the other person more powerful than I am in my own life.
Now that I’ve seen this, it’s so obvious, but the initial moment when this finally clicked for me was one of those profound moments of insight that shifted everything.
In reality, I am the only person with the power to change my life. Yes, the things that people around me do can make my life more or less enjoyable, but they do not fundamentally have the power to change my life. I am the only person that can do that. Just like they are the only people who can change their lives. All my attempts to force to change will always be in vain.
Does that mean that I have to tolerate any behavior that other people choose to dish out? No, of course not. But the person I have to control over is me. I can choose to walk away if their behavior is not acceptable. I cannot choose to force them to change. My setting of boundaries and consequences for bad behavior may encourage them to choose to change themselves, but that’s in their court. I choose to change my own life by what I will and will not accept. Sometimes that may mean leaving a situation or a relationship in order to protect myself.
There’s something enormously freeing about accepting my own power to change my life. I’m not longer at the mercy of other people, nor do I need to put my energy into the futile effort to try to control them.
There’s also a great sense of responsibility in realizing that it’s all up to me. There’s no more playing the victim. There’s no more blaming my troubles on someone else. I am the only one who truly has the power to change my life. It’s time for me to claim it.
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.