“Flexibility is the key to stability.”John Wooden
Flexibility of thoughts is not an easy task. Too often, people have entrenched thought patterns and rules, not only for themselves but also for others. Words such as “should” or “have to” are often precursors to these demands and show that the people are very stringent in their thinking.
We can’t make others do “things” and those who are very exact in what they want from others may be very disappointed or even ANGRY when this happens. We can’t control others, we can influence, but people always have choice or agency on their own. Knowing what works for you and your value system is great, however, allowing others to have their own way of doing life for them or even learning from their own errors is equally important.
Black and white thinking is also very limiting, everything is either right or wrong, good or bad – you get the drift. Allowing more room to explore the middle ground may assist in finding another alternative, or even alternatives.
Learning how to be flexible with our thoughts is possible and is a choice that needs to be practiced on a regular basis. As with any change process, the first step is noticing and attempting to redirect the thought pattern. This does take time; however, the results may make your relationships with others a lot happier.
I know this to be true as I was challenged by a colleague many years ago as I had a similar conversation with them about the words I was utilising. This conversation was a complete game changer as I had got into the habit of using “should” for a period of time. Once I got rid of this word in my vocabulary, I found that I wasn’t so limiting in my relationships with others.
Is it time for you to start the process?