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4.4 Screamfree leadership
May 4, 2016

Can You Live With It?

“Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others.”
(Gerald Jampolsky)

Yesterday we talked about filling in these blanks:

I need _____________ to start/stop________________, or I will feel _______________.

This can be a revelation, opening our eyes to all the small ways we’ve been unable to manage our own feelings, and thus, all the small ways we’ve been trying to change another’s behavior instead.

Of course, this never works. We’re never successful at changing anyone else, at least not for very long. And even when we think we’ve found the magic formula for altering that person’s behavior, the scary feelings usually don’t go away. In fact, they get worse, because now we’re scared that this new change won’t last. And we doubt whether the person really means it, because we’re the ones that “changed” them.

What we really want is the other person to want to change, for our benefit. But we can’t force somebody to want something; that goes against the natural laws of relationships.

So, what can we do? That answer depends on how much you want to grow your maturity muscles right now. All of us, I believe, want to keep growing in our maturity, but very few of us wanna do it right now, because that means doing the very hard work of emotional weightlifting.

For the few of us who are ready, here’s a question to get you started: If the person you named in the blank above never changes, can you live with it?

If your husband never gets better at apologizing, for instance, can you live with it?

If your daughter never realizes her fantastic academic potential, can you live with it?

If your colleague never does more than the bare minimum, can you live with it?

Only two possible answers here:

If yes, then drop the issue and never bring it up again. Learn to love that person exactly as they are, and soothe your own anxiety in the process.

If no, then breathe in the truth that you will have to calmly confront them about how their behavior affects you, without asking them to change.

More tomorrow.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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