Change Starts with Me

By: David I. Defoe, LCPC
Psychotherapist

During this time of year a lot of people’s focus shift to change. How can we shed those extra pounds, expand our capacity for learning, life and love? We explore all kinds of avenues to rid ourselves of the old and to make room for the new.
But have you ever tried to change someone else. Perhaps you, like me have said in the past… If I do this she will change. If I don’t answer her or him with an unkind word than perhaps they will treat me lovingly or fairly. There is a hard truth we have to learn, and the sooner we learn it the better off we will be.
The only person we can change is the person in the mirror.
While we cannot change the people who work our nerves, or geo-political forces which limit our rights, or the husband who snores or wife who nags... we can change how we allow those things beyond our control to affect us. I came across a quote the other day which read… “It is easy to protect your feet by putting on slippers than to try to carpet the entire world. Oftentimes we go into the carpeting business. Resist the urge to change others, but change yourself.”
I think the author was getting at the fact that change should never depend on something someone else has to do. But change should depend on how we will choose to respond. How we will stand up in the face of difficulty. How we will take control over our own emotions, feelings, and responses. I think Henley put it best in Invictus…
“It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
Change starts with me, and if I really want to be a whole individual… It ends with me too.

Imara Counseling Services is an independent counseling practice located in Laurel, Maryland, that provides person-centered therapeutic services for a wide variety of mental, behavioral, and psycho-social concerns.