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The Gift of Change

Anytime you ask your partner or friend, or anyone you do not hold authority or power over to change their behavior, and they do, it is a gift.

It is sometimes hard to realize this because we think they “should” change. We think that a “good person” a “thoughtful person” or a “decent person” would behave in a certain way. That image we hold of how another should be and act is in our individual minds, not in theirs.

This really hit me once when I was reading an advice column about roommates. Someone had written and was sharing how upset they were that their roommate left dirty dishes in the sink overnight and how horrible that was. They were asking for advice about how she could get them to stop doing that because it wasn’t right. The author of the advice column said something that startled me. She said basically that the roommate lived there too and had as much right to have the kitchen the way they wanted.


I could see how that would open up a conversation between equals. And if roommate B changed how she handled her dishes to accommodate roommate A, that would be a gift and could be received as a gift with gratitude and appreciation.

This can be as simple as being on time or coming home. A weird thing that I find myself doing is thanking Richard for coming home from a trip to be with me. He isn’t required to. It is a gift. But it extends to so many things that we take for granted, especially in being a couple - having dinner together, giving you a hug, texting throughout the day. If you think this is something they “should” do, you can’t appreciate it and be grateful for it. It becomes a requirement, NOT a gift.

So look to the accommodations others in your life make for you. They don’t have to do it. They are doing it for you. You might want to thank them.

Q & A

I get a lot of questions about relationships and I'll start to answer some of them here.

Today's was from @Gurpreet Grewal who asked "Do you also have a tip to share as to how does one deal with someone who is perpetually trying ONLY to prove his point of view while also being hell-bent upon proving other's wrong :)"

Whenever we are annoyed or upset with someone because they are trying to change us, it is always a good practice to see if we are doing exactly the same with them. And this aligns perfectly with this week's topic.

Several years ago, I got to have a personal session with a renowned therapist, Dr. Gerald Epstein, about a situation I was having. I explained to him how a person in my life kept trying to change me, wouldn't accept me as I was, wouldn't let me have my own opinions, and kept making me wrong for being me.

Dr. Epstein looked at me and said, "You can't change another person." I was so excited he understood and I said "Right!!! He keeps trying to change me!!!" Dr. Epstein said gain, "You can't change another person." Again, I said "Right! He shouldn't be trying to change me." A third time he said, "You can't change another person." It finally dawned on me ... I was trying to change that the other person wasn't to change me.

OMG! It was like a lightning bolt hit me! I was also NOT allowing him to be as he was. I was trying to change him! His way of being was to want to change people. And I was the same. Here I was upset about the same thing that I was doing, because I thought I was "right" and he was "wrong."

Gurpeet, I don't know if this will help you, too. But its something to look at.


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