- THE MAGAZINE
- WEB EXCLUSIVES
"What you see is what you get" is a good rule to remember when it comes to personal relationships.
Another good rule to follow is that if you want to form a lasting relationship with someone, start by being basically happy with whom he or she is. It is courting disaster when you allow thoughtless, abusive or angry people into your life assuming that under your influence they will change. Don’t do it! You’ll typically be disappointed and the affect on your life could very well be disastrous.
What is likely to happen is that we will change our behavior to accommodate these people, rather than the other way around. Change is not something we can force on other people. Lasting change comes from within. And, when people are pushed from outside forces, they will push back.
If, in significant ways, the people in our lives are not what we believe they should be, pressuring them to change will not typically be effective. Change will not happen if we are convinced we are always right, or if we believe that the fault lies always with the other person. We have to adjust our approach and maybe change our attitude, without affecting our core values.
Possibly, if we were to allow these people the dignity of being who they are without interjecting our criticism, we might find change happening naturally of its own accord. One thing, however, is certain: when we give up blaming and criticizing others, our relationships with them improve enormously.