Are you waiting for others to change?

Have you ever sat in therapy or with a counselor…even in a friend’s living room and they dispensed some really great advice or just said something remarkable and you found yourself saying, “Yeah, well tell that to__________” (insert boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, child, teacher or politician’s name)?

I had a really good habit of doing it most of my life. I’m still not completely over it, but my realization of what is wrong with that is assisting me in moving forward in strides now as opposed to the baby steps or even backward movement I was experiencing before.

In my assessment, my blame was probably put in the right place. The people who abused me WERE in the wrong. You won’t hear me stick up for them. The assaults against me WERE wrong. You won’t hear me defend those who did it. However, the sentence has rendered itself completely useless in my vocabulary. I can’t ever remember a friend responding by saying, “Yes let’s call them up and tell them.” It’s just banter that happens between friends or in therapy.

I believe the point of the sentence is to alleviate our own grief or guilt whether warranted or not. We’re basically saying, “I’m not the problem, they are.” Once again, let me establish they very well may be the problem indeed! The issue I see is that the sentence puts all potential progress at a standstill where it can either rot or fester. The deterioration of our character is sure to follow, at least for me it did.

The sentence stopped me from zooming out. When I think of the word perspective, I always think of my Father who built his own airplanes. He used to say, “Don’t worry about it. You’ll never see it from thousands of feet.” I believe he said it in relation to the blemishes on our lives. We quite often are so zoomed in on something, we don’t know how to back off a bit. I remember the first hair salon I worked in, my boss called me over during a haircut and pointed back at my client. The bottom line of the hair was slightly crooked. She said, “When you make a cut, take a few steps back and do a quick assessment.” She taught me perspective.

When I zoom out on the people who I believe own the blame, I realize that the farther you zoom out, the clearer the picture. You start to see the inherited or environmental problems people have. You start to see where their baggage came from. You begin to see that their actions are a direct result of something much bigger. When someone snaps at you it may be because they are still dealing with childhood abuse or damage. So, saying something like, “Yeah, well tell that to__________” is not going to change them or their actions. If they were TOLD to do stuff their whole life and were never TAUGHT to make decisions and choices, you telling them isn’t going to work either. The foundation we established from childhood tends to be the determining factor in how long the building stays up. How well we were raised can have absolutely nothing to do with our poor adult choices or it can have everything to do with them. The point is, we simply DON’T KNOW.

My next instinct after getting over this hurdle was to say, “Well, screw them, I can’t change them.” What generally and sadly…and truthfully happens to those people is they get thrown into a bin of people who cannot be changed. We use phrases like, “yeah well the world is a tough place” or “too bad, they aren’t my problem” or “life’s a bitch, that’s the reality”.

There are cases where we cannot change people. It can be argued that nobody can change anybody. But this fact has been overused about as much as pop music has been overplayed. How do we graduate to a higher level of humanity and move onto something greater than ourselves? For me, it’s been the word forgiveness. You’ll hear me say, “I don’t have to date them, marry them, hang out with them, go for drinks with them” a lot. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean you are relieving them or rewarding them but it does mean you have graduated to a higher level of being the bigger person and have learned what taking the high road makes you capable of accomplishing. It means you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. It means you can come to at least the consensus that they are very, very messed up and therefore their mean spirit was cooked up in a lab somewhere or they seriously just don’t know what they are doing or have done to you. Sometimes, it’s a simple case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and where we were dropped on the earth gave a bad start.

I’ve also been learning that there are synonyms you won’t find in a book. Depression can come out as anger. Jealousy can be disguised as hate. Abuse can be lack of control. I know it’s so hard to zoom out on these people we wish could change, but I feel so very triumphant when the love I show can turn someone around. We don’t have to view love as mushy and weak. Love outside of the current media portrayal is a prevailing force stronger than anything. It flies in under the radar sometimes while other times it smacks you directly and humbles you to an apple high. It should at the very least be our first line of defense and attack…and at the very most; it should be overwhelming our arsenal to assist in the healing our families and friends need so desperately.

Oh by the way, my initial question, “Are you waiting for others to change?” I don’t think anyone will admit that is what they are doing when they are doing it. I sincerely don’t expect a “yes” from anyone.

Rest assured though, I believe if we aren’t willing to change ourselves or our situation…it’s EXACTLY what we are doing. ;)

MUCH love on ya!!!
Karen :)

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

1 comment: