Monday, May 02, 2011


I think a lot about the mistakes we humans make in relationships because I talk to a lot of people who are having difficulties.  As I've said before, one of the first things I learned in recovery was that if I have a conflict with someone, all I have to do to solve it, 99% of the time, is figure out what my part is and change my part.  Poof!  Like magic - the conflict goes away. If one of the people in the conflict stops doing what he/she has been doing, the other person can't do what they've been doing.

The first thing that was pointed out to me was that I am actually powerless to change other people.  So, since I'm powerless anyway, I look pretty stupid demanding change.  They said that instead of complaining about what I don't like, I should ask for what I want.  Most people will just go on the defensive if you complain at them.  If you ask for what you want, they can at least think about it.  My first teacher in this said that you should only ask once.  If you bring it up again, you're trying to control.  I've never managed to shut up after asking once though.  So I've given myself permission to ask again on another day, this time really emphasizing how important it is to me.  Then I really should shut up.  I wish I could say that I've always done this, but I can't.  If I have a lot of emotion vested in getting my way, I sometimes go on for years (I hate to admit it, but it's true.) 

The second thing is that there is a God and I'm not it.  So I don't actually know how things are supposed to go.  Maybe they're supposed to be the way the other person wants it.  Of course, there are some things I'm sure about like murdering people is wrong, etc.  But I'm thinking about stuff like people who are consistently late, lie, don't do what they say they'll do, etc.  There are other rules too like how long dirty dishes can sit in the sink, etc.  Those are the kind of things I used to get upset about and that I hear about from other people.  But you know what?  Those are just opinions and different people see things a different way.  So since I'm not God, I'm way off my spiritual path when I start trying to get people to follow my rules. 

What's even worse for me is that I often refuse to take responsibility for myself by blaming other people for my problems.  If I know that a person I'm in conflict with does not want to do things my way, I'm not taking care of myself by constantly getting upset about it.  Odds are I could solve my problem by accepting that the person is just playing by their rules and doing what I need to do to take care of myself.  I used to be late at all times - not on purpose - I just couldn't gauge time.  I'm still late sometimes in spite of my best efforts.  The only way I can do better is to plan to be 30 minutes early.  However, it kind of ticks me off when other people are late.  Some people are always late (like I used to be).  If I know that in advance, why be annoyed when it happens again?  If I take responsibility for myself, I can expect them to be late and do what I need to do to take care of myself.  I carry a book with me and read while I wait.  I used to take work projects and finish them up.  If they're more than 15 minutes late to a meal in a restaurant, I order an appetizer, etc.  Guess what?  I'm not even irked when they show up. 

Life is a lot more peaceful when I change the person I actually have the power to change - me.

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