Sunday, July 15, 2007

Are Your Friends Motivated?

Are you trying to be 'motivated' while you're around friends who don't understand what you're trying to do? Do you have friends that say "I don't know why you think you need to do that" in response to some positive changes you're trying to make - such as testing out a new volunteer position, engaging with affirmations on a daily basis, trying out a new kind of meditation, some pointed physical exercise - other basic self-improvement activities?

Do you have friends that say "you're fine - let's just go do what we always do" - who seem to be making it easy for you to get off track before you even really get started with the new life you're trying to develop?

A tip - your friends don't need to be motivated along with you. They truly might not understand why you feel the need to make changes or what changes you're trying to make. Although it's beneficial to have people around you who are motivated in the same ways as you, it's not a necessity to make your regular friends and family 'agree' with your changes. It is, however, pertinent that your friends and family understand that you're going to go ahead and proceed with making changes. Whether they accept this fully or not, you have no control over.

Maybe you can explain "It's not about what we already do...I'm just wanting to try some things out." You don't really have to tell more about it at all. If your friends demand to know more, ask if they'd like to try some of the same things with you. If they don't, leave them alone. If they do, great. Either way, you've let them know that you'll be making changes, the changes aren't due to something good or bad about THEM, you've also invited them to 'share' in the changes, if they like so that they don't have to feel 'left out' of some of the 'new you' that you're trying to create. Again, they'll choose what they choose, but at least you've communicated with them.

Often, when an individual makes changes, people around the person make assumptions about why the changes are being made, and these assumptions can often be wrong, leading others to make snap judgements and feel discomfort (based on their own perception of the situation) for a while. Often, others just want things to remain the same, so there's no disputing that making changes in YOUR life can be difficult if people around you keep wanting you to be the same, familiar person that you've previously been.

The best safeguard to 'being allowed' to make changes (that is, to set a boundary with friends which says "I am going to do this - do not interfere"), is to be as honest with people as you can be and keep the changes about YOU.

"I feel such-and-such way, so I'm goin to change this or that in my life,"
"I feel such-and-such way, so I'm going to change this or that about myself,"

These are good ways to let others know that you're trying to change YOU and not 'circumstances' that might affect others, as well.

When an individual makes changes within a social group, family, even the smallest circle of friends, the dynamics change in the group, even if not intended by the individual making changes. Sometimes this is uncomfortable for people, even when one person changes for the better. Really, if other people can come close to understanding what you're up to, this is sometimes best.

People might be afraid that you're trying to deliberately change dynamics in the group and make the group follow what you are doing, so if you keep your statements about your new motivational goals confined to what you are doing and what you have as a goal, this might help people to know that you're not being critical of someone else or of your relationships within a group of people, family or friends.

This might alleviate some of the negativity and conflict that often occurs in relationships when one person tries to start making positive changes and develop more positive thinking.

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