Have you known some quirks about yourself which you wanted to change – but cannot?
Maybe you speak hurtingly, maybe you criticise, maybe you are oversensitive, maybe you are a little more lazy, maybe you are easy to anger. You know it but still don’t change. And end up affecting others – many of whom you care about.
The biggest reason why we don’t change where it is most needed – is because we take it personally.
That we have to change is seen as a ‘defect to be fixed’ – which feels extremely uncomfortable.
Whereas the discomfort you experience has nothing to do with you – it is just the discomfort of adapting to a new pattern.
Quickly tell me, when you fold you hands – which hand to you place outside?
Quickly tell me, when you wear trousers, which leg do you put in first?
You had to visualize yourself doing it probably right? We do it so often, and yet we do it unconsciously.
Now imagine I tell you from today that you have to reverse the way you fold your hands. Also change the leg you put in first while wearing your trousers.
It’s a harmless change. But can you see how uncomfortable and inconvenient it might get? We might try, but will soon fall back to our defaults. Anybody who points it out will frustrate us!
Imagine a boy who has grown up being served tea by his mom whenever he asks for it. She cooks whatever he wants, whenever he wants. The mother is not ‘wrong’. She loves to pamper him as a mother. We all love to be pampered, don’t we? But he does not see it as ‘bad’ or ‘abnormal’. He sees it as ‘normal love’, ‘normal caring’. “This is what people who love us do”
Now when he gets married, and his wife does anything less or politely declines his requests – he does not see it as just ‘different’. He sees it as lack of love, lack of care. So there is not question of changing himself. He is just expecting to be cared as a human! She has to change!
The wife finds it difficult to change – because she genuinely feels all the love in the world for him and does not want to ‘prove herself’. His accusations make her even angrier. She feels disrespected. Maybe one day she says “I am not your Mom!” and hell breaks loose! 🙂
In reality, its just that patterns are changing. The husband has to get used to his requests being refused. The wife has to get used to using cooking also as a means to show love. Like putting the other leg first in your trousers. It is not good or bad…it is a tad inconvenient…but it makes a big difference.
But now that they are not taking it personally, maybe they can change a little, maybe a lot. Slowly, they become more compatible, even if they weren’t so. But if they both take it personally, as a personal attack, as lack of caring, as lack of respect – then things get worse.
Think of a man who is oversensitive. Gets angry easily. But his family accepted it anyway. 9 out of 10 times. That becomes the norm. He marries a woman who is much more direct. Hurtful even. But her parents accepted her for it. 9 out of 10 times. They both enjoyed as long as they could. They think “Ya I know its a weakness, but it is acceptable”. Now they clash. Being called upon for change that was long due anyway. But once the other points it out – it becomes a “defect to be fixed” rather than a change in pattern.
A lot of this unnecessary suffering comes from confusing ‘what we have been used to getting‘ with ‘what we deserve‘. And also confusing ‘changing what I have been used to doing‘ with ‘being wrong’.
If we can just see that it is nothing personal, maybe we can adjust more, open up more, accommodate more, refuse more. See each other as different than wrong.