Learning how to not be the emotional band aid in your relationship

DonazioneRelationships with a damaged person can feel like a constant process of fix it as a way to keep someone else above water.  Often once we are in it the situation, it becomes one of dread, but when we are honest with ourselves we saw trouble coming from a mile away and still invited ourselves in.  We see the baggage, the damage from the ex or their family or just their own self-image and instead of turning around and running or encouraging them to jump start their own improvement, we hop feet first in to a mess feeling like the world’s best handyman up for the challenge of a rundown house.  So what is it that makes us believe that we can be the band aid to someone else’s problems and come out on top in a successful relationship?

There are a lot of band aids we can try to apply to stop the bleeding of a damaged person.  Once you care and you want to help you get involved in a deeply personal process that really must come from that person’s own desire.  Nonetheless we get sucked into the wormhole by either overestimating ourselves and our ability to fix them or underestimating the problems that the person is dealing with and the ease in which it can be solved.  I have often fallen in the overestimation trap as I believed that the damage others have done can be healed just by me showing them the opposite.  If they dealt with a gold digger I have tried to show myself to be self-sufficient with their money not being my motivation.  When they have trust issues I have tried to go above and beyond to prove myself worth and true to my word.  The opposite is just as dangerous, by looking at their tangled personal life or personal image as something that is a quick fix.  Armed with a motto of self-reliance you start on the path of you can do it and you can fix it before even really honestly looking at the problem and listening to what their game plan is for the approach.  Either way the result is you putting in work on a problem that really is not yours to solve.  Chances are it does little to improve that person’s situation because their perspective on people, including you, is a key piece of the puzzle.

Regardless of if you are overestimating or underestimating, the result can put you too close to your band aid application to realize that the small sore you are trying to treat only covers a much bigger internal problem.  Perhaps something about the damage in others makes us feel a little better about the bumps and bruises that we all experience along the way.  If we came out on top our ego whispers others can too just by doing what we did.  The vision loses sight of the truth that everyone is different, and likewise so are their problems and solutions to those problems.  At a point true healing has to come from the inside and be self-directed.  Healing isn’t a magic show where you can waive a wand and instantly someone is better.  They have to be invested in their own growth and healing first and foremost.  Without that they will treat the most trust worthy person with constant suspicion and take someone’s adoration as a trick of the mind.

cuore reduceNo matter how big the impulse is the truth is everyone has to take out their own trash or the end up sealing their fate as the “bag lady”.  Stuck in their own prison of mistrust and self-doubt.  Yes once you have been burned you should learn a lesson, but really learning a lesson involves applying it, not just using it as a giant shield that misses out on good things coming your way or as a scape goat for everything that could be wrong.  Relationships work best when not just both parties are working at it but also when both parties are working on and commitment to their own improvement and growth.  Without understanding and accepting this you can end up in a relationship that ultimately damages you as much as the other damaged party through your attempt to play nurse in their life without being a doctor in your own.

Getting results with daily check ups

Take Control Speedometer Think Big Want ChangeAs the midyear mark quickly came and went I set out to take an inventory on where I was this year to see if I was on pace to meet goals and resolutions I made at the beginning of the year.  With every start that I attempted to get my list done I found myself bogged down with work and travel and other distractions keeping me away from my inventory.  As I sat at my desk weighing doing an inventory or going home, however, I realized that the real question is a daily one, not just a midyear or annual review.

The big results we really want to see in life, whether it is a new job or a desire to improve or personality or position, come if we can successfully check off the box of accomplishment on a daily basis.  Although it may not seem like a big change or difference at the end of every day, those daily actions add up to give us the big success at the end of the year.  Instead of going with an exhaustive review of where I was I decided to challenge myself to asking some simple daily questions to mark my progress.  Every day when I prepare to pack up to leave for work I decided to be still for a couple of minutes and do a self-check up on how the day fit into the vision I have for my life and for myself.

Was I kind to people? Did I let my loved ones know how important they are to me? Could people care I was there and willing and help to help? Was I consistent and provided my highest level of personal service? 

All these things could be answered in minutes with some simple yes or no answers.  The benefit, however, is that in this daily review you can get the insight to change what is not working and ultimately preventing you from getting where you want to go.  You get a chance with a daily check up to ask the big question of why and answer in bite size portions that are easy to swallow and produce some real changes.  If the problem was you were tired, you can go and get more rest and be refreshed for the next day.  If the problem is conflict with a co-worker, you can make a plan to talk to them the next day to discuss or resolve your differences.  The truth is that annual checklist can aid on the procrastination effect because it’s based on the premise that if you did not get it done today, there is always tomorrow.  The bet that you will always get another tomorrow slows down the gusto to do everything you can today to ensure a better tomorrow if you see it.  This balls to the walls approach to developing change results in an increase in awareness of the impact every day and especially today has in you getting where you want to go.