I had a great conversation with a friend of mine while we were on a drive today. We had been speaking about how much of an influence people can have in our life.
In some cases, we can change these people (e.g. choose different friends). But in other cases, we’re stuck with people that have had a significant influence on us and will probably continue to do so (e.g. parents, academic supervisors, bosses, siblings).
Often these relationships are good, and there’s no need to want to change things. And sometimes there are people with whom these relationships can be frustrating, painful or arduous.
With these people, changing things external to yourself is difficult. We’re dependent on them for long periods of time. And even if we aren’t, there’s a relationship that will always exist.
We might even try to change the person (or how they treat us) but this is an even bigger challenge.
In these situations, it’s easy to end up in the same cycles of trying to change the relationship or the person. But there’s an easier way. And that’s to change your internal reaction and perception of the situation.
In other words, you learn to manage your own emotions, thoughts and actions around that person. And by doing this, the relationship is more bearable. You learn how to establish boundaries, deal with conflict and hold opposing views.
A choice for you
It may appear that doing this is a sign of weakness. That you’re doing it to appease the other person. That you’re throwing in the towel.
However, it’s completely the opposite. It’s a recognition that this person can try and hold influence over you. But that you can develop the internal system to be able to handle anything that may arise.
Ultimately, you won’t be able to change the person or completely abandon the relationship. But you can focus on your reaction to them. In doing so, you take control of your own narrative, improve your mental wellbeing and reduce the effect that they have on your life.
Image was taken this morning at the School of Economics at UCT.
Side note: Still thinking about the new habit I want to institute. I want it to be around health / physical fitness but have always found it to difficult to create a daily habit around this. Suggestions are welcome 🙂
Song of the day: Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
Blog 103/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here