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When Will I Learn That I Can’t Change Others…Only Myself!

When Will I Learn That I Can’t Change Others…Only Myself!

I’ve recently upset a friend and she has told me not to get in touch with her again. I find that super tough.  I hate upsetting people and what’s more I really hate when they cut me off.

It’s not my first rodeo – it’s happened before. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s ok.  But I’m too long in the tooth to know that when situations experienced start looking like a pattern, then you have to think ‘what is the common denominator here?” Oh yeah…It’s me…

Of course I don’t like upsetting people or having others upset with me, but clearly not quite as much as I hate having to hold my tongue.

You see I am human, I can get annoyed with others sometimes and I can like totally forget to be compassionate, calm and loving all the time.

Sometimes I attempt to pull others kicking and screaming towards the lake to drink, when they weren’t even telling me they were thirsty!

I have been learning the lesson over and over again – I must not tell others how to be! I have to let them be who they are! I must not try to change or fix people!

Yet here I am. 

It wasn’t my place to be that way with her.  Even if all I truly want for my friend (and for everyone) is for them to live their ‘best lives’.  Who am I to say what that ‘best life’ looks like? It’s just my opinion – that’s coming from my filters of life and from my way of looking at things, through my own lenses on how life should be, how people should be, how their life should work.

I realise now that my friend did not want, or ask for my advice or my opinion, and she was trying to tell me she didn’t want to hear it!  Yet I didn’t back off. I was plain arrogant, I thought I was right to interfere.

I decided that she was ‘grown enough’ and could handle it, and that she should handle it. That if she valued me as her friend then she should accept me being that way with her, because that’s who I am. BUT she really had clearly requested that she didn’t want this. She didn’t want me poking a finger at her life and demanding anything of her.  

So I had to take a really good look at why I was being this way with her. The fact is, my arrogant self was saying hey, ‘y’know I have done a great deal of work on myself and I am trying to be the best version of myself’.  And… so should YOU! Why can’t I try and help you?’

But there are clearly some huge lessons I have not yet learned. Fuck being an onion. We are never-ending, ever-decreasing onions!

But I want to keep growing.  I am prepared to ask hard questions of myself. 

People are all at different stages of growth and no one is ever ‘better’ than another.  In fact we are all one, we are each other! The minute we think we are better than another (ie know what’s best for another), or that we have to fix another, then we fall back down ‘the spiritual growth ladder’.  Even a person that has been ‘working hard on themselves’ for 30+ years may have missed something that other people see as a highly valuable lesson and ‘should have been learned a long time ago’.   

When I really get prepared, to tell the truth to myself, it’s that I actually forget to have compassion.  It’s not something that I find comes completely natural to me. Even though I request this so much from those around me. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons we all can learn in life is that people – everybody, just wants to be gotten, they want to be seen and they want to be validated.  The want ultimate compassion. If you overstep this important fact with anyone in your life then you are quite likely to upset them.  

I am clear that my love for my friend was intact – I wasn’t intentionally out to hurt her.  But the fact is that I stepped out of line. A lesson that I now share here, because I believe it makes a difference. I was unconscious to the fact that I was acting that way because I was frustrated with her. And when you come from being frustrated with someone, rather than compassionate with someone, then you are going to fuck up.

I just wanted to get to the result I was after – to get the outcome I was pushing for.  To make a difference to her, to enrich her. For her life to be better! Of course it didn’t work for her!

As I said, this has happened before, and although I have seen the error of my ways before now – I have not been prepared to fully take on this huge, valuable lesson…To get that my only true work should be on ME.  For me to be my best self, and to practice being present in every moment. 

This has been my greatest lesson this year in fact.  When I look in other areas of my life – I realise I do it in my relationship with my partner and with all my friends and family.  So, to all my friends that I do this too, I truly apologize, and I hope you know I love you and don’t mean to be such an arrogant dick sometimes.  The fact is, I have higher expectations of my friends and family than I do of myself!! How hard is that to be around!!

So I am now putting a stake in the ground and telling everybody that this time it’s over.  Please only accept me as fully compassionate, and feel free to remind me if I slip up, you have my full permission to give me a good ol’ talking to. 

Nobody is ‘perfect’ and I did not walk a perfect line here. And I will not be perfect in the future, that is just human nature.  However, I am growing and I am doing my utmost to be a valuable friend to all of those I love.  I’m working on it. Because, in fact, making a difference to others is all I ever really want to do and I can’t do that if people turn away – instead of toward me.

Lua Jones
Writer | Empowerer | Editor |  Founder @ Dear Teenage Me
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