People Don’t Let Us Change

We all have the capacity to change and become the person we want to be. Improving our self is a worthy goal and certainly required if we are to pursue the life we have always wanted.

As challenging as personal growth can be, the people in our lives can represent an unexpected hurdle. Our family, friends and co-workers complicate our ability to change. They see us so clearly as we were, they can’t see us as we could be. They will not let us change. They subconsciously label us based on our past results and are unable or unwilling to see our effort to grow. Their preconceived idea of who and what we were is so ingrained that it represents another challenge as we strive for personal growth.

This can be frustrating and we may begin to feel “I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t” as we work on ourselves. Our efforts and results aren’t recognized or acknowledged. And, quite often our efforts are sabotaged.

If we are known for being insensitive or argumentative and we are deliberately cooperative and empathetic 100 days in a row, but blow it on the 101st day, guess what is acknowledged? That we are insensitive and argumentative.

If we are known for laziness, but are industrious for several months in a row and choose to take a break one afternoon, we are perceived as “always” lazy. There are many examples we could use, but the point has been made.

Wouldn’t you agree that it is tough for others to see us in a new light even when the evidence is right before their eyes? Given that most of us have experienced being labeled to one degree or another, wouldn’t it be a good idea if we made sure we aren’t doing the same thing to others?

We need to give ourselves permission to grow and change as well as do the same for others.

 

 

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Open Mouth Insert Foot

There doesn’t seem to be a way to get through life without saying some pretty stupid things. This is part of being human. Open mouth; insert foot. Frequently, we don’t even realize we are doing it at the time.

Remember, you are human. You are going to slip sometimes and say something insensitive, uncalled for, rude, arrogant, self-righteous, ignorant or mean. You are going to criticize, condemn or judge. It is inevitable.

Others will do the same to you. We all screw up now and then. It is to your benefit to learn to be accepting of this flaw in others as you hope they will be with you. A little tolerance goes a long way toward maintaining healthy relationships and decreasing stress.

Lighten up! You don’t have to become defensive every time someone says something stupid. Be gracious. Over time, others will learn to do the same when you say something unkind or insensitive.

Learn to let the occasional unkind word slide by. And, learn to think before you speak!

Hold the bar high for yourself and soon others will follow your lead.

 

 

Impossible?

“Impossible?” Who says?!

“It can’t be done?” Really?

“Be realistic.” Whose reality?

“I just don’t want you to get hurt when you try.” Seriously, that is your biggest concern?

I say hooray to those of you doing the impossible and shaping reality your way!!

Living a life of mediocrity or living intentionally for excellence: your choice!

 

Responsibility

We can resent, complain, condemn, bellyache, bitch, obstruct, sound off, opine, castigate, excoriate, chastise, decry, whine, yammer, scream and yell all we want.

However, until we are willing to take responsibility for creating the change we want, we are just blowing hot air.

Weatherproofing

In October, Winter was just around the corner. Time to prepare for the wet and cold. Find all the cracks and chinks in the house. Caulk around the windows. Patch the roof. Inspect the chimney. Store the summer toys. Inspect for anything and everything that needs to be repaired or fixed before the winter weather arrives.

Weatherproofing your home is a great way to assure you are ready for the winter, but some people try to “weatherproof” the people in their lives. Dr. Richard Carlson points out that weatherproofing people isn’t such a good idea. Think about it. Looking for all the flaws and chinks in another person is a negative pastime leaving both you and the other person stressed.

Remember when you were first getting to know your spouse? Remember the excitement, mystery and romance. Have you ever thought “where did the guy I married go?”

  • The half empty carton of milk…toothpaste left in the sink…the snoring! Forgetting your anniversary…chewing with her mouth open…using the wrong fork for the salad. Oy vey!
  • “I remember her being much more fun.”
  • “He leaves his dirty clothes on the floor.”
  • “She spends more time on work than with me.”
  • “As soon as we got married, he changed.”

Actually, your spouse probably didn’t change. You began weatherproofing – looking for all the flaws and things needing to be fixed.

How about your close friends?

  • She is always late.
  • He never helps pick up the check.
  • Never returns your books.
  • She lets everyone walk all over her.
  • He can’t keep his word.
  • She is all talk and no action.
  • He is bossy.
  • She dresses like a slob.

If they would just listen to your advice, they would be so much better off.

Really?

For some reason, there comes a point where we begin to weatherproof the people in our lives. We start to focus on the things that bug us or we consider flaws. Eventually, this is all we notice. Worse, we start trying to change the other person.

Stop.

Weatherproofing only makes you miserable and can lead to the demise of your relationships. If you spent as much time recognizing the traits and contributions you like, respect and adore, the other stuff would fade into the background. I am not suggesting you ignore major character flaws in the people you love, however beware of weatherproofing!

If you catch yourself weatherproofing someone, try this little trick. For every negative, identify 5 positives about the person. My nephew keeps his room a mess, but he gives awesome extra-long hugs; drops everything he is doing to help his mom; tells his friends, both male and female, that he loves them AND hugs them “hello” and “goodbye”, writes poems for his girlfriend; and includes a visit to his grandparents as part of his regular schedule. With all that going for him, why complain about a messy room?

Shut the door. Be a “good finder”. Seriously, learn to identify and appreciate each person for who and what they are, flaws and all.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

You don’t know what you don’t know because, if you did you would have what you don’t have. What you do know you are forgetting all of the time, so you know less of it every day.

If you want to have what you don’t have, you must learn what you don’t know and keep relearning what you do know. You know?

Read. Learn. Grow.

It’s Not All About You!

Really, it isn’t…

Your client isn’t deliberately late just so she can mess up your afternoon.

Your coworker didn’t leave a mess on the counter because he thinks you are his personal servant.

The boss didn’t ignore your suggestion because she thinks you are stupid.

Your spouse didn’t forget your anniversary because he/she doesn’t care.

Your child didn’t wake you in the middle of the night just to rob you of what little sleep you do get.

The dog didn’t choose your shoe to destroy because it was yours.

It isn’t all about you. It is all about them.

Look beyond the behavior of others.

Once you recognize the real reasons people do what they do, you will stress yourself less. A lot less!