Changing Adult Behavior

Q: How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: The light bulb has to want to change.

Have you noticed that it is darn near impossible to change another adult’s behavior pattern?  Do you find yourself saying, “How many times have I told you . . . ?”

Does your love one promise a change in the behavior that is so annoying to you?  Year after year after decade?

Does it make you wonder why raised toilet lid jokes are so prevalent?  Or the spouse that invariably says, “I’ll just be a moment,” when what actually happens is the need for a half hour or more?

Is it no wonder that we who have less than perfect partners/spouses work so hard to “change” our children?  Isn’t it easier to change someone else than change myself?  Hmmm.  That was close to home.

Okay, back to therapists and light bulbs.  Without a total commitment to change, most of us can not leap into the vast tundra landscape of CHANGE.

Exercise guru’s ask us to make a 30 day commitment to our workout program, hoping that with 30 days of continued repetition, we will find enough internal reward to turn our new commitment into a life long “HABIT.”

Here’s the hint:  Without sufficient PAIN or FEAR, we adults don’t leap into a CHANGE, of any kind.  To make a significant CHANGE in our behavior, we first must find a way to CHANGE our BELIEF regarding that behavior.  BELIEFS are extremely difficult to dislodge, let alone, CHANGE.

(Okay, so some ladies are able to take off their platforms and wear tennis shoes to and from work, but these type of “changes” usually only occur after society has not only given permission to do so, but it has become the “thing to do.”)

If we need PAIN or FEAR to change, it would seem that lowering the toilet seat would NOT be in anyone’s list of PAIN and FEAR.

This is a good news/bad news thing.  The good news is that people can change.  The bad news is that for all of us who lovingly inform our partners/spouses to make changes, if we nag long enough, they do.  They change us for someone new.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself repeating a familiar refrain of CHANGE to your spouse or partner, you will have that light bulb go off in your head as a reminder of what will eventually be changed.

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