Power over anyone but oneself is illusory.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. In these fractured sociopolitical times, many of us want others to do and believe more like we do and believe. If their views differ from ours, we feel they are wrong-headed or, at best, confused. If only they could see things the way we do, we posit, life would be much better.
Our frustration can and does erupt into outraged words and even violence. We feel somehow the demonstrated strength of our conviction will make others convert to our views. Herein lies a fallacy: we may be able to force someone else’s actions to our will, but we cannot overpower their mind or heart. People can and will change their ideas and beliefs voluntarily, given good reason, but we cannot make them do so. We have no power to alter their thoughts and feelings; we can only persuade others by allowing them to feel and see the benevolent and functional effects of our beliefs.
Today’s message reminds me that I will never be able to control anyone but myself. I need to allow others the freedom of their own beliefs, as they need to allow me mine. Denigrating divergent viewpoints won’t lend more credence to my own. The only power I do have is to hold to and live my own beliefs, demonstrating them kindly to all.
How about you? How to you handle the desire to change someone else’s mind?