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The Simplest Ways To Inspire People And Change Their Life

The Simplest Ways To Inspire People And Change Their Life

Has anyone ever inspired you to change your life in a significant way that made you healthier, happier, or more fulfilled? If so, you understand the difference that positive inspiration can make in a person’s life. Inspiration is powerful, but it isn’t easy. Would you like to return the favor by making a positive difference in the life of your friends, family, or co-workers? If you want to be a positive influence capable of inspiring your loved ones to become better versions of themselves, please consider these 20 ways to inspire people around you.

1. Care.

If you can’t show a person that you genuinely care about them, do you think you will be able to inspire them? The answer is a resounding, “NO!” Show people you care in your words (“How are you today?”) and your actions (small acts of kindness go a long way). 

2. Be enthusiastic.

The saying “enthusiasm is contagious” is common enough to be cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. Reflect enthusiasm every day to the people you are in contact with and I’m willing to wager your genuine smiles, positive energy, and caring concern will be returned ten-fold.

3. Earn trust.

If a person you know and love tells you a secret, it stays between you and them. Trust takes a long time to build, but it can be destroyed overnight, so don’t take part in workplace gossip or unnecessary drama in your social networks so you can be a positive influence that people are unafraid to talk to.

4. If it’s not positive, don’t say it.

It’s easy to criticize people, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Think about it: how do you react if someone insults your intelligence, makes fun of your outfit, or criticizes your performance? Whether the criticism is justified or not, I bet you get upset. No one likes to be criticized, so if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say it at all.

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5. Build people up.

Small compliments have a way of brightening any day, irregardless of the dark shadows that may be overhead. Don’t believe me? Find someone in your office wearing a frown, tell them how cute (or handsome) they look today, and watch a bright smile take over their face. If your compliment doesn’t make their day, I’ll buy you a beer.

6. Stand your ground.

It’s easy to let life-stress shake our foundation of inner-strength as human beings, but if you want to inspire people around you, learn to stand your ground through thick and thin. Stand firm if you want to show the people around you that even the worst of circumstances can be overcome with positive thinking, continuous improvement, and a never-say-die attitude.

7. Admit your flaws.

Although it is important to not flinch when life throws us a curve-ball, it is equally important to acknowledge the fact that we are all human beings here, and thus are all inherently flawed. Everyone has at least one glaring weakness or two, so accept your short-comings to humanize yourself so people can relate to you on a deeper level. Show me a person who claims to be without fault and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

8. Be an active listener.

Anyone can hear the words other people say, but not many people can actively listen and comprehend those words to fully understand the meaning behind them. Make eye-contact if someone talks to you about their problems and ask follow-up questions to show them you care about what they are going through and want to understand where they are coming from as well as you can.

9. Reach for the stars.

No one will be inspired by a person who resigns themselves to “reality” (such a dreadful place that sounds devoid of hope or personal growth in my opinion). Be ambitious, aim high, and never surrender if you want to inspire people that they, too, can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

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10. Deliver constructive criticism.

First of all, constructive criticism should only be delivered if it is asked for. Remember point #4: if it’s not positive, don’t say it. If you criticize someone for their flaws without any input requested, you’re just going to upset them. But if you are asked for input, deliver it in a positive manner. For the sake of example, let’s assume someone asked you for feedback about an article, blog, essay, or resume that they wrote. You might deliver your feedback like this:

“First, thank you for asking me for input: it means a lot that you trust me! I looked it over and let me just say that I love what you did with [insert positive compliment here]. But I think it might be even better if you did this instead [insert constructive criticism and feedback for improvement here].” 

11. Treat everyone equally.

We are all equal human beings regardless of our gender, politics, race, religion, and other factors. Love and care for people without consideration of these irrelevant factors that have no influence on the quality of a person. Treat others how they want to be treated, no matter their background, to inspire trust and confidence.

12. Walk with confidence.

Keep your head high and eyes forward so you can say, “Hello,” or, “How are you?” to everyone you walk past. Walk with a friendly swagger that reflects confidence in who you are.

13. Stay calm and cool.

How people react to insults or criticism speaks highly about their ability to inspire others. If you respond to hate with more hate, how are you any better than the person who started the confrontation? (Hint: you’re not!) No matter how out-of-place or harsh an insult was, it’s best to stay calm and cool, because getting upset will not make you feel any better (and it certainly won’t inspire people around you). Shrug off insults like they didn’t happen and those who witness your unflinching nature might be inspired to do the same.

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14. Share your influences.

What books have made a huge impact on who you are as a person? What sources of inspiration help guide the most important decisions in your life? How did you become the happy, healthy, positive person you are today? Share the influences that shaped who you are so others can also benefit.

15. Acknowledge contributions of others.

No matter how wonderful you are, you’re just one person, so I’m sure others have contributed to your greatest successes in life. If you’re a writer and receive a compliment about a particular passage that one of your friends inspired, say something like, “I so appreciate that, but you know what’s funny? It wasn’t even my idea! My super talented and brilliant friend _______ gets full credit.” Acknowledge the contribution publicly if at all possible to show people you’re humble and thoughtful enough to give credit where it’s due.

16. Keep your promises.

If you volunteered to help with a cause and you get invited to a movie or concert, you need to keep your word, no matter how much more fun the other thing may be. It’s easy to ditch our responsibilities when a more interesting opportunity presents itself, but this is a sure-fire way to destroy the trust you’ve worked so hard to earn, so you’d be wise to keep your word no matter what.

17. Stay true to who you are.

A lot of us have a variety of “selves” that come out depending on the social situation: home, work, and friends all require a different song-and-dance. But putting on a different show for every group of people you encounter is super exhausting, and it’s certainly not a good way to inspire people around you. Would you place your confidence in a person who was so uncomfortable in their personality that they felt the need to pander to whatever crowd they were with? Embrace your true self without apology.

18. Explore alternative thoughts and ideas.

Anyone who thinks they have all the answers is kidding themselves, so make a point of challenging your beliefs on a regular basis. If you’re fiscally conservative, explore a well-thought out piece by someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum so you can see the other side of the story. If you’re a Christian, explore the thoughts of the most highly regarded Muslims to discover why they believe what they do. Have conversations with people who believe differently than you do to learn what makes them tick. It’s unlikely you’ll change your mind, and if you really believe something with conviction, it should hold up to scrutiny. Your openness will show others that you are so firm in your convictions that you’re willing to challenge your beliefs. You’ll also develop trust in people who think differently than you do, who otherwise might have been afraid to approach you. 

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19. Never add insult to injury.

If you win an argument, there is no need to brag about it. Proclaiming, “I told you so,” will make you look arrogant and discourage people from approaching you about the important things (and rightfully so!)

20. Set people free.

Don’t merely give people step-by-step advice, but instead give them the freedom to figure it out by themselves. No one likes a micro-manager. If you’re asked for help, deliver a rough guideline to get a person moving in the right direction, but intentionally leave something left to the imagination so they will have the freedom to fill-in-the-blanks. When a person discovers they are capable of figuring things out by their lonesome, they will discover they are more powerful than they ever thought possible.

How Do You Inspire People Around You?

Have you had the pleasure of inspiring a person to take a positive step forward to a better life? Or has someone helped inspire you to overcome a significant struggle? If so, we’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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