How can I change someone? I am asked this question a lot.

It usually goes something like this: “I have really been focusing on shifting my perspective and thinking more abundant thoughts. But I am surrounded by people who are operating from a negative, lack-based mentality. So how do I get them to change?”

My short answer is always: “You can’t.”

Here is the longer answer behind that short response:

Your life is a series of choices: choices made in every moment about what you desire, and about how you respond to the things that show up in your experience. As humans, this ability to choose is a fundamental aspect of our being. It’s free will. Free will is how you create your life that you are living, by choosing what works for you.

Let me repeat those last two sentences with emphasis on one key word:

It’s how you create your life that you are living. By choosing what works for you.

Life is far more pleasant and peaceful when you can honor and respect that the behavior of others is not up to you. Allowing them to choose what works best for them, without any expectation or judgment about their choices, is how we can stop worrying about others and focus on the only factor that we can control.

How do I know this? Well, I learned the hard way.

When I first started to learn and apply some of the abundance-mindset principles, I was so excited by the dramatic improvement in my outlook and in the results that were showing up for me. I just wanted to share these principles with my loved ones who were suffering.

My thinking was that if they could just be exposed to this information, then everything would begin to turn around for them, too.

And let’s be honest - I didn’t want any bad mojo they were creating to counteract all the good mojo that I was creating. What I didn’t know is that this is not the way it works. All this approach did was to make me more frustrated when they didn’t choose to adopt an abundance mindset for themselves.

You can certainly create a Complaint-Free Zone, one where you ask the people in your daily life to leave any complaining, whining and gossiping at the door. But once you clearly communicate an expectation, it’s then time to let them decide whether they choose (or not) to meet you halfway. If they choose not to, and they might, then you get to choose how you will respond.

It isn't easy, and wondering why someone doesn't react the way you want them to doesn't make you a bad person. Instead, you can model an abundance mindset (or whatever it is you are attempting to share) through your own behavior. You can even share your thoughts and beliefs (ideally this only happens after first being invited). This may inspire another to change, but it may not.

It’s their choice - a function of their Free Will.

This is how they create the life they are living ~ by choosing what works for them.

When you think about it, would you really want it to be any other way?

Want to make more m
indful connections? Come to our workshop on How To Build & Maintain Meaningful Relationships on February 10th!

Holly Bretschneider is the founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of Blue Sky Business Academy, a special place where the heart & soul meet business and create true success. Holly works with amazing business leaders from all over the world to share the marketing, systems and mindsets that support them in creating more success, abundance and joy in their businesses and their lives. 

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Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.