Change in Others = Change in Yourself

I have started reading a book called The Five Love Languages. Although it is a very easy read, compared to my emotions book, I’m learning a lot about myself in the process. The read has very easy exercises that you can follow, and while reading it I can’t help thinking that it makes things so clear and simple to understand!

However, a lesson I was given as a young adult is now entering my life syllabus again. Probably because I haven’t yet grasped the lesson. I think this is something many people battle with, and maybe more so us females than men, but I can’t say this beyond a reasonable doubt. This is one of those books where you read it and not only understand how to interact with other people, but it helps you understand why certain things tick you off completely. My wish is that I can give this book to all my loved ones, including Leon, they will read it, we all practice the lessons and change the way we interact with each other, and ta-da – we all live happily ever after!

I learned within less than 24 hours that life doesn’t work like that. Even when I told Leon about what the book says, and what I have realised how I require dedicated time and conversation to feel loved, he hasn’t miraculously changed overnight and now stares into my eyes over dinner and talks to me non-stop. He is still the quiet guy who gets lost in his own head and will very happily not say one word over dinner. I cannot change him to do more of what I know will make me happier.

This lesson extends further than this though. I have crossed many people’s paths where they are not happy with something in their life. Usually conversation will go in the direction of what the person can do to change things and be happier or get more or grow. But I cannot do anything more than that, the rest is their responsibility. Another example – both Cassidy and Leon are a lot more susceptible to getting sick than I am. Is it because I religiously drink my vitamins? I don’t know, but if I were that susceptible to illness I would try it as part of a process of elimination. Do either of them remember to drink their vitamins even when I remind them daily? No. It drives me nuts! There are many scenarios where I often think that if I just did things for people, it would change everything and their lives would be better. But I cannot do these things. My first response is not that I cannot do them because it is their responsibility to do, but rather because I don’t have time, or because it is something I really can’t do, like walking my mother around the block to improve her fitness.

To me it is the most frustrating thing in my life. It doesn’t frustrate me that they won’t listen to me. Except maybe in my first example where if Leon talked more I’ll be happier. But generally what frustrates me is that my hands are chopped off, no matter what I do or say, I cannot help them. A part of my purpose in life as I see it is to help people. Not the same as with Leon, who helps them through coaching and inspiring, but rather getting my hands dirty with them and then helping them on the tracks and eventually letting them continue on their own. If my hands are chopped off, I cannot do anything. And usually then I feel that the harder I try, the less it helps.

Do I know what to do differently? No I don’t. But what I do know is that the only person I can and should help in this lesson, is myself. This is not only because it is something I read over and over, but because I realise that I may be a lot less frustrated if I do, and maybe then I will be able to help people more. A glimmer of the lesson that I think is becoming visible, is that people don’t grow on the path you want for them, but that they need to follow their own journey. And for as long as I take them on the journey I believe is the right one, they aren’t getting their own opportunity to face the music and grow. I don’t have a strategy on how I will learn to let go, so I will close this post off by asking the Universe to give me some guidance.

P.S: I will blog a bit more the next couple of weeks by blogging about each of the languages I’m reading. A little bit about what it says, but also a bit about what I realise about me. Use them to learn, or use them to still read my journey, or ignore them – up to you! 🙂


4 thoughts on “Change in Others = Change in Yourself

  1. Wow. What an interesting read. Never knew you were on a journey dedicated to helping people – its very inspirational.

    I have read the book & it made a very big difference to the way I percieve all my relationships – even with my son. Once you know how people want to be loved you can work hard on making them happy – if you so chose. Simple? Not really. Some people don’t understand or even know how they want /need to feel loved.

    I’m very interested to hear more about your ideas on helping people on their journey. I’m also a very good “sounding boad” & “devil’s advocate” if you want to bounce a few things off me 🙂

  2. Maria, this is very interesting. Strange how different we perceive other people when we know them on a casual basis. Goes to show how we put on a show, i.e. wear a mask by which to project a version of us, to others. Or, is it that we simply don’t care to take the time to really know what others are truly like, are we that self-absorbed, conversely that afraid of who we are?

    I would not have guessed your thoughts to be, as you describe. And yes, I can agree with you, few people actually read-and-apply good advice, just as few as would actually read something on your recommendation. People just don’t read.

    I tip my hat to you.

    1. Thank you for your comment Drikus, and thanx for reading my blog. Some people put on a mask, but I think your second comment is the more relevant one – we don’t take the time to truly get what others are about. I can understand this at the office, since we’re put in situations with people we wouldn’t necessarily choose as friends in our lives. But sometimes this extends to our partners even, and that is the scary part for me!

      Maria Fourie

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