Fallacy of Change (DW#503)

The fallacy of change is another distortion which, even we recognize it, can be rather challenging to shift.

This pattern of thinking involves believing that we will be happy if people around us change to accommodate our wishes and desires. An outcome of this type of thinking is to expect that others will change if we just pressure or encourage them enough.

If I just nag my adult son enough, we may think, he will stop wearing un-ironed clothes. Or

If I gently (!) and sweetly tell my spouse that he should not watch so much football, or eat healthy, or cut his hair a different way, he should listen to my solid advice!

Instead of focusing on our own circle of control, we focus our energies on ‘encouraging’ others around us to change. Of course, it seems that the more enthusiastic we get about our agenda for others to change, the more they seem to resist our good advice!!

Now we do need to mention a huge caveat here: let’s be honest. The behaviour of those around us, especially those we care about,does impact our mental and emotional wellbeing. When we are in a close relationship or part of a team or a family, the wellbeing of each and every one depends upon the others in the group or the family.

If someone in the family is disrespectful, inconsiderate, mean, untruthful or stubborn, it will impact the rest of the family. And confronting the fallacy of change does not mean that we accept behaviour that is not acceptable. Nor does it mean that we accept abusive behaviour.

When someone's behaviour is truly causing distress, it is important to let them know rather than silently hold resentment in our hearts while they remain unaware. If our relationships are worth it to us, we do need to have the courage to hold each other accountable and ask for what we need in the relationship to be happy.

What it also means is that we keep asking ourselves

1)    How exactly is their behavior impacting us AND
2)    what WE can do about the situation (which may involve talking, requesting, taking action etc.) 

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