We can never control what other people will do or say or want or need, nor can we control what life is going to put in our paths; our power lies in our ability to choose the way we respond to what it is we’re given. I get so many emails from people who tell me their relationships would be great, if only their partners would change some fundamental thing about themselves. You can’t make someone else change, or be happy, or kind or compassionate or patient, or in love with you. People are those things, or they are not. You might be able to inspire people to show up as the best version of themselves by showing them what that looks like yourself, but you can’t convince or bribe or manipulate a person toward growth.
If you have patterns of destruction in your life, at a certain point you’ll have to examine your own choices, right? Maybe this shows up for you in the realm of romantic relationships. Maybe you’re so jealous, you choke the life and fun out of every relationship you’ve been in, because you’ve been hurt and you’re scared. Being hurt and scared is totally fine; acting out on that stuff is a surefire way to destroy your chances for true intimacy. Maybe you sabotage yourself in the professional realm–fight hard for a job, and then show up late or under-prepared all the time. Maybe your relationship with your grown children is a source of pain. Perhaps you try to manage their journeys, walking over all their boundaries in the name of love and concern, and maybe they push back in anger.
We have all kinds of ways we get in our own way, lie to ourselves, or avoid saying the hard things; ways we cling, and shut our eyes tightly so we don’t have to face reality. Maybe we push people away because we believe we aren’t worthy of love.
If you aren’t happy with the way life looks and feels, with the quality of your relationships, or the way you’re moving through the world, it’s time to start something new. I say that like it’s easy, but it isn’t easy at all. Awareness would be the first step; just realizing you have this tendency, or belief, or way of being that isn’t serving you. If it’s deeply ingrained, you may need some help in uprooting it, and intentionally moving outside your comfort zone. If you normally check your partner’s email when you feel nervous or insecure, for example, this time you have that uncomfortable, painful conversation instead.
If your boss is driving you nuts (again), you start to work on non-reactivity. You train yourself to breathe consciously when you feel triggered, attacked or invisible. You look at places within you where you’re intolerant, with yourself or with others, places where you’re harsh or unforgiving and you try to identify what it is within you that could use your kind attention, and an opportunity to heal. Maybe you aren’t nurturing yourself well. Maybe you need to slow down, and find more effective ways of managing your stress and anxiety. If you tend to lash out in anger, perhaps it’s time to start a yoga practice, a breathing practice.
If you want the things around you to change, your best option is to work on the environment within you. When we pin our happiness on external events or other people, we rob ourselves of power. Blame is a joy-stealer. When we take responsibility for our lives, and make the choice to be accountable for the energy we’re spreading, when we do our best to keep those things, people, gifts for which we’re so grateful in the forefront instead of buried under a pile of “nothing is working out”, it’s amazing what happens around us. If you behave differently, people will respond differently. I’m not saying that’s going to solve everything, I’m just saying that’s your best hope for changing things around you.
Sending you love,
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