Thursday, January 10, 2008

To Change or Not to Change

There is a moment that stops each of us and it either leaves us feeling kicked-in-the-gut guilty, patient-suffering glad, or appallingly apathetic. This moment is always a crossroad and is never kindly easy. It is a moment of change - not your change but someone else's. And perhaps you think the answer is simple or perhaps you know the answer without hearing the question. But do you really? You maybe thinking, "Well Ellie, it is my business to help people change." Maybe you have a conscious attitude that dictates that you help anyone in need. But here is the real question and what it all boils down too - what is your personal criteria for helping other people change? This brings on a whole subset of questions:

Do you help change only those who ask you for help?
Do you try to change those you feel need to change?
If you answered yes to the above, do you try to change those you feel need to change even if they do not want to change?

Well, do you?

After dealing with a loved one who has spent much time recently trying to change others on their opinions about various things (the price of tea, the way the moon revolves around the earth, and by the way is the earth really round?), I realized he was hell-bent on changing us all, like a preacher who is losing his congregation. It really bothered him that we were willing to hear him out (to a certain point before it became a time suck), but not concede to his point of view. And after much irritation, I realized the reality of the situation. He indeed was not being mean, he was just had not come to the consciousness that change is individual and is as fickle and frustrating as that congregation member who says the most righteous amens at Sunday Service but afterwords decides to have a quickly with the neighbors wife.

And this came up again the other day in talking to another health care practitioner, who is feeling the financial slap in the face for helping too many people who do not value her and her abilities. I mean this in that they expect a whole lot of free with no personal commitment. She is exhausted and guilt ridden for wanting to say "no." She has given her gift away and been stepped upon. She sees the strife and anguish in many and reaches out to them. Now she is depressed and is getting to the point where she is in need of help herself.

All this made me think about the line of change. Hypnotist are in a world where their main role is to guide people over the line of change, but only those who want to change themselves. It is one of the covenants of hypnosis (and many alternative health modalities) - a person only makes the changes he or she wants to make. Many times to help us determine if we will be able to help a client, we ask them to rate their concern for their problem (change), with one being "not really a concern" to 10 being"I am totally concerned," if the number falls below a six, many of us chose not to waste our time or the client's time with hypnosis. We may listen and make sure that is the case (their answer) and decide from there.

So ultimately there are two important factors about the nature of changing others. The first is being available to others who need our help. The second is being able to accept that which we cannot change. This means accepting that others are who they are and it is up to them to change. Maybe they could be better if they changed the way we would have them change, but we need to just accept them as they are until they are ready and come to desire it on their won. If they choose or allows us to assist them in this, it is a beautiful thing. When we force it on them, it is dirty and ugly. And if we feel a surge of power in forcing them then maybe we really need to look within our own self and make some changes there.

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