How can I change others?

Dr. Marni Feuerman, LCSW, MFT
Marriage & Family Therapy

 Generally speaking we have little control over most things in our lives other than how we respond to them. But, we can certainly have a profound influence on those things going on in our lives and how we respond to them. We can expand or shrink our influence by the choices we make.  At work, we expand our influence by behaviors like Being a team player, Helping out, Being assertive, Being trustworthy, Respecting others. We can shrink our area of influence by engaging in destructive attitudes and behaviors like Constant negativity, Blaming, Not helping, Gossip, Not keeping your word, Disrespecting others.

There are certain things we have NO control over, including traffic, the economy, other people, etc. This is actually most things in our lives.


Some things we DO have control over in our lives, which in essence is how we think, feel, and act. In other words, we only have control over how we act and react to those things that happen in our lives. This is, in the realm of everything, a small part of our lives that we actually have control over.


We also have “influence” but not direct control over some things. Examples of what we have “influence” over would be other people (i.e. we may not control other people but we can certainly influence how others react to us by our treatment of them), our futures (to the extent that we can plan for them), etc.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.