All Change is Self Change


I was reading an article that said “All change is ultimately self change.”(DiClimente, 2003)  Let’s explore!

Sometimes we witness friends and family going through troublesome times. Perhaps a friend has a drinking problem, is in a bad relationship, or seems stuck in life. On the outside looking in we ”see” all the moves he or she needs to make. “He’s no good for her she should just leave him.” “If only she will just stop drinking and partying she would be in a better place.” “She needs to stop being lazy and finish school or get a job.”  It’s so easy for us to see and sometimes tell our friends and family what to do. But do an inventory of your life. How many times has this worked?

Judgment is something I hate. It makes me feel shameful. Shame often leads to isolation. And when we isolate it’s hard to get the support we really need.  The motivation to change often has to come from within for that change to last. Of course there is room in any friendship to express concern. My motto is it’s not so much
what you say as how you say it. I appreciate other people’s opinions and wisdom. But sometimes I find people tell me what I “should” do when all I want is a listening ear. I am one to believe that many of us know what we “should”  do. We often know what we want and will do as well. When I feel judged I am notorious for shutting down and shutting you out. I tend to get resistant and stubborn. How do you respond?

I really liked this idea that “all change is ultimately self change” because it empowers each of us to take control of our own lives and make the changes we want to see.  In essence each of us has this internal motivation to be the best we can be. Sometimes this motivation is not as active as one would like but it’s there.

If you see a friend in need one of the most helpful things you could probably do is find this motivation that already lies within and help them to recognize it. Sometimes a friend just needs us to be there to lend a listening ear, use motivational techniques to encourage change, and be patient. Change doesn’t occur over night. With any given change there may be relapse. Often we have to meet people where they are. We cannot get ahead of them or make a change for them. When a person makes a decision to change for themselves the change is more likely to be long lasting. We just have to be there to show our love, patience, and support.