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How to be the Change in Someone's Life to Help Them

Updated on March 14, 2013

"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.

Stephen Karpman Drama Triange
Stephen Karpman Drama Triange | Source

Helping Others.

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.

Seasons of change
Seasons of change | Source

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.


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    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      ReddberrySky thanks for reading and your generous comments.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 4 years ago

      This is a fantastic perspective - it's extremely easy to fall into the trap of getting involved in someone else's problems and taking on the 'parent' role. I love the way you've explained this - with compassion. Voted up and across, and I'd love to read more of your take on these issues.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      Thanks teaches 12345. The title came up - I was going to write somethig different but it seems this subject is relevant for many I know right now.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      This is so true, setting barriers in relationships is so necessary when they are damaging. Great lessons here to be learned. Thanks for the advice.

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 5 years ago from Victoria BC

      Torrilyn thanks for your contribution and vote. Appreciated.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 5 years ago


      thanks for the article

      the best way to help someone is to be there

      for them as much as you can

      you have to avoid letting someone else's life

      drain you emotionally mentally and physically

      Voted up