Most of us need a little push or help to do hard things. When it comes to motivating yourself to make change, it can be a struggle. Change is hard work. We often have good intentions to change but get busy and distracted. Or we don’t want to face the reality that change is needed.
Years ago, I wrote a book, I Married You, Not Your Family and 9 other myths that will ruin your relationship. One of the myths was, I can’t change. This is who I am, take it or leave it. I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say this in couples’ therapy.
Yet, the hallmark of the Christian life is that change is possible. Therefore, it’s ridiculous to take the position that you can’t change. With the power of the Holy Spirit in you, change is always possible. So, no excuses!
Now, let’s look at a few things that get in the way of making a needed change. I call these change stoppers.
The first one is denial. You can’t motivate yourself to change if you don’t admit there is a problem or something that needs to be improved. Thus, the first step to change is to admit there is a problem.
Moving out of denial means taking an honest look at what you are doing that negatively affects you or others. For example, do you need to be healthier to be around for your grandchildren or partner? Do you need to work on your temper to make your home a safe place? What can you do to improve your relationships with those you love, care about or with whom you do life? Are you listening to the feedback others are giving you regarding a problem?
Next, you need to address self-centeredness. When change doesn’t fit your agenda, and doesn’t work for you, do you consider how your on-going behavior impacts those around you? Or are you resisting change because you feel controlled or upset at hearing how your behavior impacts others?
There are many unhealthy things we do that create relationship conflict and problems. Avoiding those things doesn’t make a relationship better. The root of this avoidance or resistance is usually pride. “No one is going to tell me what to do!” Yet, relationships are a give and take. When our behavior is self-centered, it creates friction. So, ask, am I mostly thinking about me or considering the other person?
Finally, sometimes we don’t make change because we are too comfortable in a relationship and take another person for granted. We don’t realize there could be a slow build-up of resentment based on our behavior. Or we simply don’t care that much to make a needed change.
Complacency has ruined many relationships. It can lead to boredom, frustration, anger and a host of negative feelings for the other person. So, if change needs to be made, make it. Don’t be complacent. If you are unsure how your behavior impacts the people who live and work with you, ask.
To do the hard work of change, we must confront denial, self-centeredness, complacency and pride. Otherwise, we create tension and stress in our relationships. More importantly, we should be motivated by love and wanting to be more like Christ in all our relationships. With the Holy Spirit in us and a desire to be more loving, we can face the hard work of change.
Get motivated and get it done