How do you change the situation? How do you change your mindset? Have you ever considered just changing your mind? Have you ever just removed yourself from the situation?
It sounds so easy; but can be very difficult because we are so set in our ways. If your relationship is not working – how do you just remove yourself – well, in this instance, I am definitely not advocating that you walk away from your marriage, your partnership, etc. There are other solutions – life coaching, counselling, therapy, mediation, etc. or simply changing your ways!
But, how do I change my ways or my situation? Instead of continually fighting to ‘get your point across’? Or to ‘prove that you are right’? Have your ever considered that ‘actively listening to change what you your partner would like you to do’ – could result in a resolving the issue amicably? But who is going to be the one to listen? Who is going to give up their position of ‘rightness’ (synonym: perfection, flawlessness) to listen to the other person? Well, therein lies the big issue, because no one wants to give in because we feel we are giving up our position of ‘rightness’ and thus, feel wronged or in an inferior position, if we do this. But this is not so! When you enter a relationship, you need to understand that there needs to be compromise, co-operation, negotiation – as this is a two-way street, not a one-way! We must meet each other half way. And who is willing to meet half-way? Who is willing to compromise?
How to change!
Meeting another person half-way, means change, means adjustment, means transformation! And that, only you – the person reading this – can do! Only YOU can change yourself –you cannot expect it of others!
But before you can take that step – the step of transformation! You must understand why we do not ‘want’ to make the change. Why it is that we want everything to go our way? For our world to stay the same?
Firstly, we all like our comfort zone, which is the zone of ‘rightness’, which is synonymous with perfection or flawlessness, which is not a real concept because no one is perfect – we are all flawed (and I do not mean this is a negative way!), but this is the awesome part about who we are – it is what makes us unique, different, what makes us the person we are.
But, why is our comfort zone so awesome? Because it is comfortable, because we know what to expect, because we like it there – we have been there most of our life! And, we also want our partners, lovers, friends, family members to join us in our comfort zone, and vice versa, they want us in theirs and that is where the problems arise – the conflict – because we cannot be in two places at once.
Thus, who is going to give in? Who is going to ‘move’ out of their comfort zone? Well, no one. And for the first few years of a relationship it works, because we do compromise to a certain extent, as we can work around this zone – because we are in the so-called ‘honeymoon period’ and we want the relationship to work out. We are still working on the relationship – making it work, trying to impress our new partner, wanting them to like us, love us, want us! Here is an example:
‘Susi works overtime because she likes the additional money at the end of the month, so she can buy extra luxuries – like shoes and make-up. Thomas is generally not too stressed regarding work and does not understand why Susi must put in those extra hours. He prefers to come home early and lie on the couch to watch his favourite TV shows. When Susi comes home, she thinks Thomas might have made dinner already because he came home first. Thomas just grabbed a packet of chips out of the cupboard and ate them whilst watching TV. Susi is angry because Thomas is being lazy, and she works hard to bring in additional money. Thomas is confused at Susi’s anger, because she chooses to work late, and besides, she spends the money on herself.’
Who is right? Who is wrong? Are they not both ‘right’? Yes, they are – they just have a different model of how they see the world. And this model – or comfort zone – is in conflict with that of their partner. Let’s take it a step further:
‘Thomas gets up from the couch, gives Susi a huge hug, apologises and says that he will remember to make dinner next time. Susi feels better because Thomas apologised, gets dressed comfortably, grabs a quick meal herself and joins Thomas on the couch, where they watch a show together’.
Problem solved? Temporarily, yes, it is. Thomas thinks that a simple apology will do the trick every time and he will not have to make dinner and Susi thinks that she can get angry and tell Thomas that it is not right to sit on the couch and do nothing. She also thinks that she can in future tell Thomas to get up and do things around the house, whilst she is working and making money to buy things for herself. Can you see where there is a precedent being set? Can you see where future arguments are being established? Or rather the groundwork is being set?
As we get more and more comfortable in the relationship, so we will revert even further back into our comfort zone. Thus, the conflict and the disagreements only really begin once the relationship itself has slipped into a comfort zone itself, which is inevitable, because as you can see from the above example – the real issue was not really discussed. Why should Thomas make dinner if Susi is not going to spend the money on the relationship? Why is Susi not spending more time with Thomas? Perhaps if these issues were dealt with the real argument would have been sorted out.
But the most intricate space for a relationship to be in, is when children come into the picture because each parent wants their child to be like them and to ‘join them’ in their comfort zone. And this is when the differences really become apparent – what if you come from different religious backgrounds, or have different political views, or have different cultural backgrounds?
It literally becomes a minefield that needs to be negotiated. ‘Jeremy will be going to Shul. No, he is going to Catholic Church. No, he will be attending Madressa.’
I think I would rather just pack my backs and run off into the wild, blue yonder!! Lol…
Ok, ok!! I used real extreme examples, but it got you thinking. What is it that you and your partner have argued about regarding the child/ren. Language, subjects, extramurals, etc. and this seriously becomes a huge problem during a divorce. But it is still an issue within a ‘normal’ relationship – and when the child progresses into the teenage years, they create their own comfort zone, which creates even more tension in the home!
Therefore, people who come from similar backgrounds with very similar morals and values will often have more successful marriages because their comfort zones are very similar. But currently, people that are getting married are choosing their partners from very varied backgrounds and this is having a very significant impact on their relationships.
The divorce rate world-wide is rising and people are getting divorced faster than in the olden days, i.e. they are staying married less than ten years, and one of the main reasons of divorce worldwide is the inability to compromise, as detailed above. Thus, we need drastic measures to combat the scourge of divorce – but who is going to take the first step? Who is going to ask for help? Who wants to save their relationship? Who wants to have someone to look after them in their old age? Who wants to hear what their teenager is telling them? Who wants to hear what their partner is trying to communicate?
When to change!
NOW! No time like the present!!
We are the change agents in our own lives! If you are reading this, you have already proven to me that you are willing to change, that something in your life needs to change, that you want something to transform. And as many people say – change happens just outside of your comfort zone – but who is willing to get out of that comfort zone? When you have had enough of the fighting and you want to go back to holding hands, when you have been through a divorce and want to learn from your mistakes. When you remember what it used to be like when your little one used to run to you – like you were his/her super hero! If you want to experience the love again – then you need to commit to making the change. You can change, you can make the change, you can decide to change! But you cannot make anyone change! Thus, it is your decision to make! Make it today, make it now! Go for it!
What can you do to change!Listen
Listen to your loved ones, listen to anyone who is talking to you. We always want others to listen to us, but we never want to listen to them! It is an awesome tool that we do not use effectively – but do not try and fix the person’s problems. Just listen – you will be amazed at what you will actually hear!
Listen to yourself. Listen to what is going on inside. We often do not listen to our own problems, physical ailments, etc. Take ten or fifteen minutes a day to just breath! It is a very powerful tool! Listen to yourself breath in and out- focus on this exercise! It is immensely calming and liberating!
- Spread the love!
Instead of being negative – turn your words into positive concepts! If someone asks you how you are – be positive – tell them you are great, awesome, very well! Fake it, until you make it! Give compliments, give people something to smile about! Look for the positive in all you do on a daily basis – remember why you married or chose to be in a relationship with your partner – go back and tell them!
- Be Kind – first to those you love and then to others!
We all have it in ourselves to do a kind deed. Bring your partner a gift (flowers, a book in their favourite genre, a chocolate, go for coffee, etc.), make them a cup of coffee, make them breakfast in bed, water their plants, do something! But first and foremost, remember to be the change!
- Be the change, you expect to see!
If you want your partner to listen, then you need to listen. If you want your child to be kinder, then you need to be kinder. If you want to see change, then you need to be the change agent in your home! You need to reflect what it is you want to see around you.
Difficult? No, very easy – all it takes is for you to change your mind, to change your actions and to get out of your comfort zone! Trust me, your comfort zone, is not as comfortable as you think it is!
You are the change, you can make the change, and change starts today!
Good Luck and I hope to see you here soon for my next blog!
With love and empowerment