Motivating Those We Care About
One of the things I've come to notice through working with a number of individuals and families is that people may actually be more inclined to go above and beyond for others than they are for themselves. They frame their behaviors in ways such as, "If I can just do this for (insert person), then I'll be happy with myself," or, "It's more important for me to do (insert behavior) for (insert person) than it is for me to do (insert behavior) for myself." I've come to find, overwhelmingly, that this frame of thinking has much less to do with a disregard for oneself, and much more to do with a tremendous amount of love and compassion for whoever the person is being inserted in those statements. In that regard, if we are more compelled to act for the betterment of those around us than we are for ourselves, let us think of how we can motivate others, and hopefully find ways to apply those skills to ourselves.
-We want to highlight the discrepancies in the lives of people we intend to motivate. Motivation for change is established when people come to realize the disconnect between where they are, and where they want to be. We don't want to create problems when there aren't any, but we certainly want the person we're helping to recognize the difference between what is happening, and what they wish was happening. When the discrepancy becomes more apparent, the path towards achieving their goals does too.
–Empathy is an essential component, not only in motivating somebody but also in helping them to see that their current situation isn't what they are destined to continue experiencing. Being able to put yourself in somebody else's shoes for the purpose of gaining a true understanding, and a true acceptance for their struggles, removes the barrier of them feeling isolated and hopeless in their pursuit of a more fulfilling life. It allows them to feel more confident that somebody has their genuine interests in mind.
-Learn more about what makes them ambivalent to change in the first place. Humans are designed to maintain a status quo, so hesitancy to change even the unhealthiest of behaviors is a normative response. When faced with indecisiveness, explore where that may be coming from, rather than just telling them the reasons you think it would be important for them to make a change. Reframe what they're saying, reflect it back to them. By talking through ambivalence, it becomes easier for them to see that the reasons for trying to change far outweigh the reasons that would keep them from doing so.
· Soft approach. Meeting resistance with resistance will only halt the change process. Any resistance to implementing change strategies from the person seeking help provides the person helping with an opportunity to gain more information and a stronger grasp of the issue at hand. It also tells the person that is attempting to help something about the manner with which they are approaching the interaction. The way thought or idea is conveyed on the part of the helper may be the very thing that is contributing to resistance from the person seeking help.
· Bolstering somebody's belief in their ability to change increases the likelihood that they in fact will. We want the people we help to believe wholeheartedly that they are not only capable of change, but that they have actually demonstrated the ability to do so in the past. Faith in the decisions they've made, and the actions they've already taken, allows them to navigate obstacles that may be presenting themselves in the present. Faith in the decisions they're making in the present allows them to navigate the obstacles that may present themselves in the future.
If you find yourself frustrated for trying to help someone to be motivated to change and is not getting your message through, or see more anxiety arriving for them, refer them to a specialist. We at Tampa Therapy Group have therapists that can help them. Call us. (813) 613-8587