Encouraging Change.

The world would be a much better place if we could change people.

Why do we want to change other people? Well, of course because we want everyone in the world to be just like us. Our lives would be much easier if everyone lived just like us–if they parked their cars in the lines like us, if they organized their grocery lists just like us, if they responded to their e-mails just like us, if they sorted out their trash and recyclables just like us, if they boarded the airplane and put their luggage in the cargo-bins just like us, if they managed their children just like us. The world would be a much better place if everyone lived just like us.

So, how do we instigate this change?

The first thing we can do is post a lot of stuff on our social media. We can start by selecting a really captivating picture of ourselves, and then type a really long caption about how great our lives have been since we “cut toxic people out” or since we “devoted more time to self care” or since we “started one of those fad diets” and then we can write a long post about how everyone else should do the same exact things (right, because posting on social media will surely fire up everyone reading our post to want to change their lives to be just like ours?)

If posting a bunch of stuff on social media doesn’t instigate the change you are wanting to see in the world, then you can just bluntly tell people: you should probably think about getting your eyebrows done professionally if you want to attract any decent mate; your child is out of hand, you need to read ‘Love and Logic’; hey, I’ve noticed that you are looking rather plump–I can get you signed up for this awesome weight loss program I’ve been doing. Right, because if people don’t KNOW what they should be doing, then they aren’t going to do it. So, if I want change, then I should just TELL people to stop driving their cars to save the environment, or I should just TELL people to wear less lipgloss, or I should just TELL people that their singing voice is actually off key, so they should just sing quieter.

And if that still doesn’t institute the change we expect to see, then our last line of defense is to plant some kind of experience that will FORCE that person to change. Like, maybe this car is tailgating us really badly (which, of course, we never do ourselves because we are cautious and courteous and careful drivers)–obviously an InstaGram post isn’t going to reach them, and we can’t yell out the window, so instead, we just start slamming on our brakes to encourage them to move back to a safer distance. Or, maybe we think that someone watches WAY too much T.V. or plays WAY too many video games (we, of course, only do that five hours a week, and our time is either educational or used to de-stress, so anything more than that is obviously bad)–so we take away the T.V., the controller, the console, cut off the electricity.

I’m no expert at ‘being human’ (I’m only 28), but if my observations are correct, that long post that I just spent the last 15 minutes typing out on my Insta picture–no one is actually reading (they are just scrolling through and double-tapping the heart function). Telling people what to do doesn’t work–what I’ve learned about humans is we don’t like people to tell us what to do. By nature, we are oppositional-defiant, proud, ego-driven. When someone tells us, “You probably shouldn’t post that online”, it almost encourages us to post MORE of those things online–just for the mere fact that they told us not to. And, planting a situation that forces someone to “change” has the potential to really screw some stuff up.

I mean, sometimes I think getting a bunch of people together, in such a meeting or perhaps a protest creates change. It promotes awareness for a cause–allows people to know that they aren’t the only ones, to build relationships and support systems with like-minded individuals, and learn about different organizations and resources that can support in the change.

But, when I think about the most successful moments of change, I think it occurs when we just walk the walk and we, ourselves, live out whatever that change we hope to find to be. Because, as humans, I think we are oppositional defiant–we don’t like other people to tell us what to do. And, we gain the most amount of knowledge when we journey through exploration and inquiry.

I mean, if I want everyone to jump on board with me recycling, I certainly can write a huge social media post about the dangers of recycling and include a devastating picture of a turtle with a straw through his shell. And, I could stand at a trash can and yell at everyone who throws their stuff in the wrong receptacle. And, I could stand in front of a door and tell people they can’t leave until they tell me which items are Plastic #3 and Plastic #6. But, if I truly want people to pick up on the trend of recycling, I have to do it myself; they have to see me consciously making the choice of organizing my trash. I have to educate myself so when they ask questions, I can respond. And, I have to love them through their hiccups.

Because, not everyone is going to be just like me. What kind of world would that be, anyways?

(Photo Credit: EuroPlas)

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