How to be the Change in Someone's Life to Help Them
"Be the change you want to see...".
When Ghandi spoke those words he may not have realized how they would resonate with so many different people from different cultures around the world.
It is true we cannot change another person (much as sometimes we would like to) but we can assist with helping them to see different choices and ways of being that can lead to positive change.
When someone is expressing that they would like to change something in their own life - a behaviour, a pattern, a relationship listening to and observing the actual changes they are making, rather than encouraging lots of "someday I'll" conversations will be really helpful.
One of the pitfalls that lay people, family, colleagues and friends fall into when helping others is becoming sucked into the story "the mess" of the other person's life or situation.
Eric Berne, who wrote "I'm OK, You're OK" and is the founder of Transactional Analysis discusses how imbalance between people arise when there is a perception that one or the other is not "adult". In other words when the person seeking change asks another to help them from a helpless child persepctive and the helper is elevated to the role of parent. When both people assume these roles in the unconscious change cannot occur - the communication is not equal and the "child" will remain in that position.
In 1968 Stephen Karpman created the Drama Triangle. In this model the person seeking change, let's call him the victim asks you to help him make the change - you unwittingly become the rescuer. When your attempts at helping the change occur does not work you are perceived as and become the persecutor. In turn you may become persecuted by the original victim so the roles are swopped and the Victim tries to rescue you.
When we help others it is important to remain autonomous and model that autonomy to the other so that they can create and make decisions and choices for themselves.
Being the Change in Someone's Life
Being the change will mean setting clear and consistent boundaries and stepping away from enabling behaviours. This will empower the person to embody the change they want to see and come up with their own solutions and steps to achieving the change.
Like the seasons change is a process, sometimes it is a long one and the need for winter and the dying is necessary for Spring and new growth to emerge. Summer represents the enthusiastic embracing of the new and fall, the assurity that change is what has been accomplished.