I’ve been the same guy since she married me. I don’t understand why she keeps expecting me to change.
I had no idea about my pal’s marriage so I shared my opinion of our relationship…
Well, you’re a good guy and I’m grateful for everything that you’ve taught me.
Later, I realized that I’ve been on both sides of the conversation many times.
The thoughts, of the husband AND the wife, happen so often they are a habit of mine.
My habit isn’t useful.
Here’s what I’ve learned about personal change.
When I’m resisting a person that knows me well, it is because there is a conflict between (a) the truth of what they are saying; and (b) what I think will make me happy.
An example from my past was a belief that a life of constant exercise and extreme nutrition would make me happy. This was true, until it wasn’t. When it wasn’t true any more, somebody pointing out that my family might benefit from an engaged father, more than a top athlete, could have triggered resistance in me.
An even more simple example would be if my wife pointed out that eating Pad Thai and drinking beer, didn’t appear to make me happier than eating salad and drinking tea!
In the above two examples, I figured things out for myself but there must be other areas where I continue to fool myself.
I pay attention because there is no trigger without truth.
Now, the other side of the conversation.
Placing my personal happiness in another person’s capacity to change is foolish.
First, because what I think changes from moment-to-moment!
Second, because when I pay attention to what causes true happiness within me… it has nothing to do with “you changing”, and everything to do with my own choices.
Easy to say, tough to realize.
The way I figured out the above, was to make my desires real by playing “I’ll be happy when…”
- Write down everything that will make me happy (once and for all) 🙂
- Compare my happy-list to what’s happening when I’m really happy
- Realize that I am constantly fooling myself
Teach my folly.