We’ve been talking about focus and how it can be good if we focus on something worth moving our life toward, or bad if we become focused on what we think is wrong about another. If you realize you have been too focused on what is wrong in your life (or someone else), you may be wanting to change that now. A change of focus can bring about new life, even when our “old” relationships seem bitter and dead. Change is about responsibility. It is about knowing yourself, and taking responsibility for your life and choices. Let’s face it; every choice and every decision we made was ours, and we have to take responsibility for it. Any consequences that come as a result of the choices we have made are ours, too, good or bad, desirable or undesirable. Pat Mellody used to say, “You choose your behavior, but the world chooses your consequences.”
People often want change in their relationships and lives, but often there is something in our nature that expects change to come from others. Everything would be better if “they” would change. Yet this pattern, old as life itself, is filled with problems that make sure change never happens. Here’s some reasons why:
- Waiting on others to change makes me passive. If I have to wait for another to get their act together before things can be ok for me, I have no motivation to make necessary changes myself. I can sit back and watch and wait for things to get better.
- When things don’t get better, which is what usually happens when we are expecting others to make the improvements we want, we feel like victims in our lives. This is often covered with a layer of righteous indignation at what others have or haven’t done.
- We then feel our own behavior is justified. Anything I do is understandable and justified because it was a reaction to the unfairness of what others have done. As this happens my ability to feel remorse for my own behavior is affected. I grow more determined that I am right and others are wrong. Resentment takes over.
- We enter into a resentment dance with others as we treat them as enemies, and they respond by fighting back or avoiding us. Either way, it forms a cycle of resentment.
- Nothing changes, except we now feel we are a victim. We are invested in blaming others and staying a victim.
Multiply this times two if you are in a marriage. Most likely what you are doing is what your partner is also doing. Both of you want change, but can’t see this as something your partner wants. You view them as the enemy, not your partner and friend. They learn to view you in the same way. It may be time to realize, though, that it isn’t really your partner that is your enemy. It was never them that disappointed you; it was your expectation. For now, be willing to take responsibility yourself and choose to stop blaming others.