You cannot force someone to change their heart. The most effective long-term way to change others is to change oneself.
A common way to change someone is to directly inform, persuade, or force another person to align themselves with the way in which you desire them to change. Barring any personal reasons for resistance, a willing and intelligent person will usually comply with the requirements of the request.
However, this direct method is primarily one of short-term change, because it is only the external behavior that has changed, not the underlying mindset or mechanisms that led to such a behavior. Usually it will take 3 or more applications of such a method for it to ‘stick.’
In order for a person to truly change for the long-term they have to change their mindset, be willing to let go of their current notions or methodologies and make a conscious effort to change on their own behalf because it is what they want, for themselves and for others.
I have noticed adverse effects with the short-term method and subsequently avoid this method to change others directly, because doing so can be rather ineffective or even produce the oppositely intended result. It may also produce a scenario where it’s always the ‘other person’s fault,’ which is an unnecessary judgment that often leads to stagnation in my improvement.
Rather, upon seeing what I perceive as a character flaw in others I will look within and alter or eliminate any trace of what I may see in others that I feel needs to be changed within my own character. In so doing I become the living embodiment of a higher standard. I look within, find any character flaw that may be present, change or eliminate it, and improve myself in the process. I believe that this is truly ‘looking inward.’
Consequently, living in such a way will reflect onto others, in so doing I provide the person within my area of effect with an opportunity for self initiated change.
How? They’ll see the change in character, behavior and the disparity between their behavior and my own. Like a light that clears away the fog of their mind it will reveal the truth that was always there but once again lies before their eyes, and in a compassionate, honest and respectful way they will have a chance to change and improve.
A change at this point will be one of long term ramification because the person will have made a fundamental change in their own personal character. Their mindset will have shifted, and that’s a big deal because any future thoughts that arise within a mind that has been altered will thus follow a different path.
It’s like construction on a road way, with cars running through it. A road was going one direction and thoughts (cars) could only go from location 1 to 2, but now construction has occurred, and a new avenue has opened up. The thoughts may still travel from 1 to 2, but now they can also go to three 3. And perhaps in the future the thoughts will only travel from 1 to 3.
The idea is that this new destination is a better place, a more positive and uplifting place with a higher standard. The thoughts couldn’t reach this place before because there wasn’t a way for them to do so and they didn’t meet the standard for that realm… that realm of thought.
The most effective way to change a person’s heart is by showing them how you have changed your own. An honest and openly direct short-term approach can work well too, and is certainly useful and necessary in many situations, but a long-term approach is most often the best approach, and it starts with changing oneself to live up to a higher standard.
Look within, work on improving your own character and take your realm of thought to a higher place. From that moment on wherever you go you will make an impression on others and it will be an indirect, compassionate, as well as honest approach that will change their lives for the better.