Why (your) change is hard … on others

When we change, we force others to change, too.

Think about it – if someone depends on you to be  who you’ve always been (fill in the blanks: the cooperator, the yielder, the organizer, etc) and you hit the brakes and shift directions, they’re forced to shift, too.  They can no longer be who they’ve been all along (unorganized, irresponsible, insulting or immature).

When we stop being a doormat to someone demanding because it’s just “easier” than standing up for ourselves,  they’re forced to look for new places to wipe their feet.

When we stop redirecting conversations because we’re scared where someone aggressive will take it, we teach them to choose their words more carefully.

When we stop doing for everyone else because we think that’s where the love is, we learn … to start loving ourselves.

There are some relationships that cannot withstand change.

When one continues to develop and grow and another remains just where they were (listen for the words, “I’m happy with where/who I am), conflict can erupt.  Expect to be challenged. Why? Because witnessing another taking positive steps forward often creates feelings of having to keep up … and they may not want to. They might want things to stay just how they are: easy.

This occurs in personal and professional relationships.

Who’s holding you back? Who’s challenging you to stay as you are?  Whose life would be easier if you stayed static?

If you’re in a time of change (losing weight,  gaining confidence, learning to say “no,” trying out new things) consider this: when someone comments that “you’ve changed,” what they really mean to say is this: you’ve stopped living your life their way.

“You are now at a crossroads.

This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make.

Forget your past.  Who are you now?

Who have you decided you really are now?

Don’t think about who you have been.

Who are you now?

Who have you decided to become?

Make this decision consciously.

Make it carefully.

Make it powerfully.

Make it.”

– Anthony Robbins

*Thank you to my friend Renee at Writing Feemail for her many words of wisdom on my blog — her comments on a past post bubbled back up in my collective thoughts and she, in turn, inspired this post.

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjust the sails. - William A. Ward. Image:


Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Growth, Life, Opinion, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 43 Comments

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43 thoughts on “Why (your) change is hard … on others

  1. Always look forward to my morning dose of your wisdom.

    • Thank you, LeRoy. I only can share what I’ve learned along the way … and one of the things I’ve learned of late is that I don’t have to give it all away! When I stop, it’s ok to let there be a vacuum; I don’t need to rush to fill it or rescue others always. It’s my nature, but not necessarily good for me.


  2. I especially the Tim Robbins quote – exactly what I needed this morning, thank you.

  3. Thank you for this post! It came at a time where I am considering changes in my life that will require some family members to step forward and do their fair share in overseeing our mother. I’m trying not to feel guilty and realize that life is getting too short for me not to grab hold of the happiness that has come my way.

    • I hear you, Surfer girl. That’s what I’ve learned – when I do it all, I inhibit others opportunities to step in and grow. If I step back and create the opening maybe they’ll come through, maybe they won’t. But they definitely won’t if I’m always the “go-to” gal.

      Best wishes to you as you press on 🙂 MJ

  4. Thank you. I needed to read this and I need to come back to it again.

  5. So very true, and the better news is there is a positive outcome as well. I can testify that when you are going through a dynamic change, others surrounding actually may change too for the better. In fact, it’s proven they do change on a cellular level. Positive energy begets positive energy! By you changing for the better, it provokes people to reconsider their current paths and future goals. Yea!

  6. Yes, our choices will always have an impact, on ourselves and others.
    Keep the Faith!

  7. Powerfully important message here, MJ. Change is difficult–but to not grow is to shrivel and ultimately die–at least emotionally. Reminds me of the poem by Mary Oliver called “The Journey.” Google it. I think you will appreciate her message.

    (By the way, hope you are enjoying “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I have decided to reread it myself. Thanks for that push!)


    • … ooh I loved the poem you pointed me to; perfection!

      I can’t say I am enjoying the book but that doesn’t mean it’s not well done – it’s just such a departure from comfortable thinking isn’t it?


  8. True, all true! Change is difficult for everyone. But it feels good when you know you’ve achieved something significant…worth doing, worth fighting for if that’s what it takes! ~ Sheila

    • Yes! somethings are truly worth fighting for. I don’t get my back up too much but my boys know, if it’s important to me, they’ll know about it and understand very clearly why. MJ

  9. My sister said something very similar to this a couple years back…it was: “When “we” change it forces others to go one way or the other, they get to pick”. It has stuck with me and now this post will be stuck right up there with it. Thanks MJ.

    • Yep, your sister has it exactly – thanks, D!

      (P.S. hope St. Ignace is treating you well!)

      • It’s awesome! Our “team” played so outstanding yesterday in the pond hockey games that they got tapped to play against the Red Wings Alumni in an indoor hockey ring here last night and tied them! More *awesome* !!! 🙂 I love winter!

  10. richripley

    some of the folks that I admire the most are those who “don’t give a damn whether they’re ‘liked’ or not. They are who they are, take me or leave me…you know where I stand.” It takes a strong and wise person who knows themselves well to “be themselves.” I’m working towards that….it’s the “class clown” in me that is contrary to that stand. (shrug) I am who I am. 🙂

    • You are who you are and that’s just fine! Mostly, what I was attempting for here was the understanding that it’s not even all about us — if someone doesn’t like our change/evolution – ultimately, it’s their issue, not ours.

      Cheers! MJ

  11. So very true…change is not easy but if we look at it as an adventure we can often find the positive and go for it!

  12. I am so flattered that something I may have said inspired YOU! You are always inspiring me and everyone else. Thank you, thank you. I love today’s post. It is so true.

    • Yes, you surely did. Your words helped me understand someone I was struggling to please – what you shared with me released a lot of angst and responsibility (for them) from my shoulders. Thank YOU!

  13. Good message, MJ. I like the quote below the sailboat pic.

  14. cooper

    Good Tony Robbins quote. I like author Tom Robbins wisdom as well….
    “Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route.”
    ― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

  15. MJ, this came at just the right time for me! Thank you so much. I am at a crossroads and am starting to have some nagging doubts. I will have to come back and reread your post for inspiration again. The Robbins quote gave me chills!

    • I loved that quote; I hope that whatever you’re wrestling with, you’re able to resolve and settle soon. To me, doubt means don’t.


  16. Once again, you’ve touched on something that I’m dealing with in my life. I’ve had a WONDERFUL week at work because someone else has been on vacation. I’ve truly never enjoyed my job more. She returns next Monday and I’m dreading it. I need to keep your words in mind and stop being her doormat.

    • Wow, Terri, I’m both sorry and happy – sorry you have to endure that most of the time and happy you’ve had respite from it. I know how strong you are; I hope you’re able to get out from under her spell. Those energy vampire types are a real drain; I work with a couple, too and I know what you mean ..ugh!

  17. When Rob and I were at our worst, I started reading “The Love Dare”. I read it with resentment, because I didn’t want to do all the work to save the marriage. I didn’t want to be the only one to change. I wanted Rob to change. Funny thing … over time, perhaps sparked by the book, I started to change. And, over time, Rob started to change.
    If you want change, you start with yourself – others will follow. It’s a magical moment to behold, too.

  18. Wonderful post, MJ.

  19. ‘When someone comments that “you’ve changed,” what they really mean to say is this: you’ve stopped living your life their way.’ This is kind of an eye-opener for me since I’m wrestling with something like this. You are SO right MJ. I could hug you for this!

  20. As always I love to read your thoughts. These are inspiring and hopeful and so much in tune with my own way of thinking that if you wouldn’t mind, I would like to share them with my readers as well.
    Sincerely, john

    • Hi John, thanks for visiting again … if you’d like to share, just link back to me with full credits. Thank you; I’m flattered that you’d want to share it beyond my little circle.

      Cheers! MJ

  21. Pingback: Something to look forward to | Emjayandthem's Blog

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