It's natural to wish for others to act differently. If they could just do this more often or if they were a little bit more that — then our relationship would be so much better off. You may be experiencing this with someone at home, a close friend, or a family member in a different state. As much as you love or care for this person, you wish they were different. Or you wish that you two as a collective were different. In pursuing that ideal relationship you look towards what could become from what is now. It’s easier for us to see what the other person could change to allow this ideal to come to fruition instead of considering how we could change. Yet no matter how hard we try, we can't change another person. So what can we do? Practice unilaterality.
And what's unilaterality? It's deciding the best action to take and taking that action with no expectation of how it will be received and/or what action it may cause in the other person.
Imagine you generally wish the house were cleaner. It's always easier to see the areas of your living space in which your partner may not keep tidy. Pointing out these areas and asking for something different is likely to be met with resistance. This request will be met with even more resistance if you neglect to first tidy up the areas YOU are responsible for having made messy. So instead of asking something from someone else, take unilateral action. Tidy your areas as well as they can be tidied. Clean other areas of your living space that don’t get a ton of love. Take action towards what you want to see. In time your actions may be noticed and an unexpected result may yield. It all starts with you and what you can do today.
There are times to confront and to discuss but the best path forward is typically one of unilaterality. What do you want from a relationship with a person that has come to your mind? It does not have to be a loving relationship. Do you wish you two were more open with each other? More spontaneous? Connected more frequently?
And most importantly, given what you want for the relationship, what unilateral action can you take to create this with your friend, co-worker, or loved one?
Ultimately you only control your actions and the way you show up for another person in a given relationship. Though it may be easier to start with what the other person can do, start with you. Start with unilateral action.