Monthly Archives: January, 2016

If You Don’t Like the Way People Are Acting, Change YOU by Vicki Tillman, LPCMH

I always say that I wouldn’t have any problems if everyone else would just behave. People can be so irritating!

  • Kids leave their stuff all over the house.
  • Co-workers don’t respect what you do.
  • Friends and significant others dump their personal garbage on you.


If they would just behave, your life would be easier.

The hard, hard fact about life is this: You can’t change other people. You can only change you.

So here are 3 tips for handling the times that you don’t like the way people are acting:

1) If it is under your control (if it is your direct responsibility), change the way you’re handling it. For instance, your kids are your responsibility. If you don’t like them leaving their stuff all over the house, change the way you are reacting.

Instead of having a good yell, try explaining behavior and consequences to them. Point out to them (in a calm, low voice) the behavior you don’t want (stuff all over the house). Explain the consequence (if you do it again, I’ll confiscate it and you’ll have to earn it back with extra chores). Write it all down and put it on the fridge so no one forgets. Then enforce it EVERY time.

2) If it is something outside your control, like co-workers, change your perspective. You can’t change them, but you can change your belief about yourself. If YOU remember who you are and the importance of what you do, then the MOST important person has got it straight. Remind yourself daily that YOU respect YOU and why.

3) If it is someone close to you, who is not respecting how you feel, treating you unkindly, or disrespecting healthy boundaries, change YOU. Talk to the person, in a calm, quiet way (and keeping it short and sweet) explain how their behavior impacts you and what you would like for them to do differently. Sometimes people just aren’t thinking and quickly change their behavior.

If not, set a boundary in a calm, quiet voice, “If you do …, then I will need to …”. Then stand by what you said.

Sometimes a person becomes toxic. No matter how wonderful your past years together were, the harm the person is doing to you and his/her unwillingness to quit doing the harm, shows you that you need to end that relationship. That is painful but sometimes the only healthy thing to do. Change YOU: get out of the relationship.

I still think I’m right: If everyone else would just behave, my life would be easier. I’ve learned to live by the guidelines of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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