Let's say you want to influence one of your loved ones into behaving in a way that's better for them, but you also don't want to be manipulative and controlling.
One of the main causes of resistance to advice and support is the sensation of authority - the feeling that someone is trying to control you for their own benefit. Paradoxically, people pleasers are some of the most resistant to authority. Even though they want approval, they HATE being told what to do.
And yet, they cannot improve their lives without outside feedback.
How do you solve this dilemma?
Well, this is where something called naïve inquiry comes in. Rather than telling someone what to do, you get very curious about the harmful behaviours you’re seeing and get them to question their own integrity.
My favourite way to do this is what I call the “two hands” approach.
You can simply point out that they have a contradiction between who they say they are and what they do, and ask them to explain the contradiction.
For example, if someone says that they hated how their parents used to yell all the time, and yet they yell at their own kids, you just point that out to them. You say, “On one hand, the other day you said yelling hurt you as a kid, and then on the other hand, just now you yelled at your own kid. Help me understand, because that doesn’t make sense to me.”
And this is the best way for them to get in touch with their own values and figure out for themselves what's right, rather than you telling them and provoking resistance.