(Breather) Can you truly change others? And what is the price you pay for trying to do so? What if there was an easier way of dealing with that desire we all have to change the behavior, habits, or beliefs of those around us? In this episode, I’ll share the most useful and insightful tips I’ve gathered from various experts and invite you to expand your perspective on the topic of changing others.
Best-selling author Mark Manson remarked during his Get Over Yourself show appearance that instead of trying to change others, “You must decide what you are willing to tolerate and not willing to tolerate in your relationships.” Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a “lose-lose situation” if you continue to try to change someone, or if you yourself end up changing for someone else. Another one of my favorite insights from Mark was his argument that self worth is an “illusion” and that you should best view your life as a series of decisions and actions. Instead, work on cultivating self discipline, because self discipline is the real key to happiness. I also love Mark’s stance on never using other people as a means to an end. Don’t think about what others can do for you, but rather, what you can do to be of service to others.
I’m also a fan of the actor Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert and share a story from one episode about how he handled an issue he was having with his wife, actress Kristen Bell. Annoyed with her habit of reading and responding to emails at night in bed, Dax remarked something along the lines of, ‘Can’t you schedule your time better during the day so you don’t do this at night?’ Well, unsurprisingly, that did not go over well. What did, however, was a different approach, with Dax simply telling her that he needed her full attention. The heart of the issue changed: it was no longer about what he wanted her to do, but instead about what he needed from her, and that made all the difference.
I wrap up the show with some great insights from Dave Rossi, who says that, “Attachments in relationships set you up for pain and suffering” and advises us to, “Accept others as they are, and don’t try to change them.”
Thanks for listening, and check back for part 3 of this series which will cover insights from experts on how to optimize your health!
Don’t try to change other people. [01:28]
Self-worth is an illusion. [02:15]
If someone is trying to change you, then you are stuck in a lose-lose situation. [03:37]
Learn to express your own needs by doing it in a way where you are not trying to change the other person. [05:06]
The conditioned self responds to situations that supersede our power to make choices. [08:48]
The highest level of human consciousness would be to never use others as a means to an end. [11:56]
Don’t judge people. Don’t try to change people. Accept them for who they are. [14:20]
- Brad’s Shopping Page
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
- Everything is Fucked
- Brad’s podcast with Mark Manson
- Armchair Expert
- Brad’s Podcast with Dr. Wendy Walsh
- The Imperative Habit
- Brad’s Breather Show with Bruce Lipton
- Biology of Belief Podcast
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Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad (1m 28s): Quick insights from the experts breather show. This is number two. Remember we had a first breather show on parenting and relationships and the topic of this show is changing other people. Don’t do it. Spoiler alert. So yes, here we go with a few different commentators. One of them is the wonderful Mark Manson bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck and his recent book, Everything is Fucked: a book about hope. I think he’s one of the great philosophers of modern times. If you listened to our show, you’ll get some life-changing insights. And I love pulling out as many excerpts and sound bites as I can from him, reviewing them, rereading them. Brad (2m 15s): One of them that I think about all the time and share with others is his argument that self-worth is an illusion and you should best view your life as merely a series of decisions and actions. And that self-discipline is the true key to happiness rather than pursuing self-worth and self-esteem and attaching your self-esteem to the outcome of the things that you do in life. That’s kind of the theme of my show to get over yourself and just go hard, make good decisions and take action. And when you have that self-discipline to make good decisions and avoid the decisions that are going to cause you pain and suffering. That is your path to happiness. Brad (2m 55s): Amazing a way to look at it rather than this battle that we constantly fight for self-worth and self-esteem and trying to be relevant and important and experiencing a lot of pain and suffering accordingly. So this is Mark’s comments on changing others. If someone in your life is trying to change you, that is they are punishing you emotionally for not conforming to their desires or values. Hey, isn’t that a different way to say it then I’m just trying to help you be more motivated with your exercise program or your diet. No, you’re punishing them emotionally for not conforming to desires or values that you hold in high esteem. Brad (3m 37s): And you think that everyone else should too, because of course you’re right all the time. So if someone in your life is trying to change you, then you are stuck in a lose lose situation. If you do try and change for them, you’re essentially betraying your own values and self worth to make someone else happy. This can work in minor cases, but in the long run, it’s a self destructive strategy. You’re essentially making them happy by making yourself miserable. Except no one wants to be with a miserable person so you will eventually make them miserable as well. Both of these steps are equally important. First, you must decide on what you are willing to tolerate and not willing to tolerate in your relationship. Brad (4m 20s): You get what he’s saying. So instead of trying to change someone, decide on what you’re willing to tolerate and not tolerate. And if there’s deal breakers, that’s fine. If you don’t want to be with someone who abuses substances or spends weekends partying with the bowling team, instead of looking after the, the family needs, then that’s okay. But making that struggling and making that effort to try to change somebody, ah, we see those kinds of scenes all the time in movies where it doesn’t really end well ever. Okay. So you must decide on what you’re willing to tolerate and not willing to tolerate in a relationship. And if you can’t do that, then you are simply at a loss of control and will always feel reactive to the other person. Brad (5m 2s): This is bad end quote from Mark Manson, Dax Shepard had an interesting tidbit to offer on this subject. You may have heard of him as an actor with a long line of movie credits. I especially loved his role in Idiocracy, but in recent times he has become a sensation in the podcast scene with his podcast titled Armchair Expert, where he interviews a ton of Hollywood celebrities and leading figures. And it’s become one of the most prominent podcasts in the world since its inception in 2018. He does a great job, very bright and an insightful inquisitive guy. But the title Armchair Expert implies that he spouts off a lot of statistics and supposed truths. Brad (5m 46s): And then what they do in the last 10, 15 minutes of the show with his sidekick, Monica, is they go actually and dig up the true facts of all the topics that were briefly discussed during the podcast. So that’s kind of fun, a show format. And he talks about a lesson that he learned that took two years. So hopefully if you can take this message and execute it immediately, you will save yourself some pain and suffering, emotional pain and suffering over the two years of time that it occurred for decks. And he was talking about his wife, the noted actress, Kristen Bell, where she had a penchant for doing her emails on her mobile device in bed as they were approaching bedtime. Brad (6m 32s): So he shared with the listeners how this caused him a little bit of internal suffering. He wasn’t a big fan of that. I think he wanted to get to sleep without the, the interference of the screen. Maybe have some time for conversation and intimacy rather than her cranking out on the digital device. So he brought it up and he says, gee, you’re doing email now? Is there a way to manage your time better during the day? And that one didn’t really go over well with his wife. Imagine that. So he took his chances again. Probably some time had passed since this whole thing took two years, right? But then he was helpful enough to share with her, the research on how blue light exposure in the evening can suppress melatonin and interfere with complete restoration, a good night’s sleep. Brad (7m 21s): And she wasn’t interested to hear that either. So finally, and I guess this is two years after she’s been doing this habit that mildly annoyed him and he took his shots and, and swung swung for strikeout he’s time. He got up the courage as he describes, he got up the courage to say, I need your full attention. And immediately she dropped the device. And that initiated a relationship transformation where the evening times were a time where they could connect and she could prefer her husband to her screen habit. But only when it came from that different direction of the, the partner expressing their needs with honesty and vulnerability. I just did a show with Dr. Brad (8m 2s): Wendy Walsh, where she referenced the, the same attribute that a winning relationship goals in both directions. So sometimes we see people get stuck on the giving side, the martyr, they don’t have the courage or the vulnerability to express their own needs. And so they get into these dysfunctional patterns where the relationship is not as rewarding and authentic as it possibly can be. So being comfortable, expressing your own needs and doing them in a way where you’re not trying to change the other person. So in other words, with that exchange, that Dax relates instead of trying to correct her behavior, he just expressed his needs. Brad (8m 42s): And that was the key to open the door. Okay. So a great little tidbit there. Then we’re going to cover some material from Dave Rossi’s book, The Imperative Habit, and is on the topic of changing others. Don’t don’t even try it. Don’t do it. Attachment in relationships, sets you up for pain and suffering, accept others as they are. And don’t try to change them. This is so counter to a lot of relationship dynamics where we’re keeping score. We’re keeping score in our head and we’re trying to change people in subtle ways. Obviously the sledgehammer can oftentimes turn into a quick and obvious conflict, but when you’re trying to chip away with the ice pick, rather than the sledgehammer and mold and shape people to your behavior preferences or your values and beliefs WHEW! Brad (9m 32s): That can be an insidious relationship killer. .Okay? So into the book, Dave says, quote, we, as humans are beyond the need to make choices based on Darwinian, biological and evolutionary impulses. Imagine the difference in choices you might make for a mate once you’re able to observe or set aside this Darwinian mechanism. In fact, the conditioned self reactive behavior and programmed responses are Darwinian biological responses that we let supersede our power to make active choices. I’m going to talk a little slower here because this stuff is deep and we have to process it carefully. If you haven’t heard that term conditioned self Dave uses it a lot in the book. Brad (10m 17s): And it just means a program responses, reactive behavior, and creating this conditioned self where you just react. And a lot of this is based on a subconscious programming that occurred from ages zero to seven, referenced my breather show with Bruce Lipton, talking about the insights in Biology of Belief, where he argues that we’re 93 to 98% of the time walking around in his subconscious, in a trance where we’re controlled by subconscious reactive behavior, rather than making conscious choices at all times. And that’s what being mindful is all about is processing your thoughts, emotions before you respond, things like that. So we’re letting these conditioned responses supersede our power to make active choices, our beliefs structure and our programming create the baseline for the Darwinian view of what we think will help us survive as animals, right? Brad (11m 7s): That reptilian brain consciousness, where we’re anxious, fearful. We’re just trying to survive. And we’re in a relationship conflict where we can’t be mindful and make conscious choices, ah, time to extricate from that nonsense, right? That baseline that operating from primitive brain function, fight or flight becomes the comparison point of emotions and evolutionary impulses that lead to poor choices. When you can set aside these biological impulses, the proof of your ability would be making choices based, not on needing someone to fill a gap of loneliness, but on getting to know a potential partner for themselves, valuing them for who they are and not basing your relationship on what they may potentially do for you. Brad (11m 56s): The biological logic factor of your brain is turned off and your more intelligent, intuitive side turns on your choices will improve. This echoes something that Mark Manson said in his books, or maybe in our interview where he argues that the highest level of human consciousness, human evolution ,would be to never use others as a means to an end, what can they do for you? That’s kind of our default reactive programming, and we want to get away from that and be mindful and just connect with other people and perhaps see how we can be of service to the world as our primary driving force. Being your real self. Brad (12m 36s): (this is back to Dave, quoting Imperative Habit) Being your real self allows you to get to know others as themselves and not falsely attached to them for the wrong or unclear reasons. Ironically, this makes dating easier and more difficult. It makes it easier as you’ll want to get to know people for who they really are without pretenses. However, you will also have the perceptibility of knowing when their conditioned self is responding for them. When people respond from fear or from a state of the condition self, you will be able to see it. These types of responses by others will be viewed by you as inauthentic and difficult to connect with when you have reached a state of consciousness beyond theirs. Brad (13m 22s): Ah, okay, we don’t want this to sound a little haughty. But I think what Dave is trying to say is once you evolve, you’re going to see things a little more black and white than when you’re stuck in the muck and kind of operating from that same reactive positioning. And so that is kind of a breath of fresh air for your life. And I think if you can operate from a higher standard, a higher state of being, you will also have that influence upon others around you. So in his example where he’s talking about dating, maybe if the date starts out as a, a reparte of a bragging and trying to impress the other person superficially, you can cut through that with a few well chosen lines where you can kind of get real. Brad (14m 5s): Not just dating, but I think interacting or conversing with anyone in your life where you can just bring the conversation to a better level than the superficial ego-driven exchanges that we often traffic in. Back to a final quote from Dave’s book. Again, just accept them for who they are. Don’t judge their reactions and allow their opinions. Likely an unconscious person will not be a good match for a conscious person, nor will an unconscious person reacting in their conditioned self. No, if they are doing so, okay. Floating up high, that is the end of a breather show. Don’t try to change other people, accept them for who they are. Brad (14m 48s): More tidbit from Dave Rossi’s book, don’t judge defend or criticize. Accept them for who they are. Don’t judge their reactions and allow their opinions so easy. So simple. Let’s go out there and do it this week. This month, this year, thank you for listening to the breather show. Hey, if you want to share this with someone else, please do. That’s a great way for the show to get traction and build new listening audience. Rise up the ranking so other people can see it just with random searches. And I would really appreciate it. If you could take that short time and push the share button when you’re playing the podcast and whatever app you’re using. And of course leaving a review also helps very much as well. Brad (15m 30s): So if that’s in Apple podcasts, you can now do it right from your mobile device. My recorded description tells you, you have to go to desktop, but now it’s much easier than ever to leave a review. So maybe you could try it, just find that button ratings and reviews push it. And you are often running, sharing your opinion with the world. Thank you so much for being a devoted listener to the, get over yourself podcast and as always email us with your feedback, questions, comments, get over yourself email@example.com. Thanks. Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brad (16m 11s): And we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews, and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars. And it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to thanks for doing it.