Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Not Your Problem...It's Theirs

In some cases, I feel like I tend to psychoanalyze people more than a shrink. Sometimes, I have to stop myself and bite my tongue over what someone had just said. I used to say pretty much anything that was on my mind, even if it was very offensive. These days, I’m finding I just sit back and watch the madness flow like a bad comedy show. I’ve come to the conclusion that whenever someone says something in bad taste: it’s not my problem, it’s theirs. Whether they have ulterior motives or not, I let it ride out like a runaway train. Have you ever had a friend or relative say something so “neutral” sounding, but was a hidden insult instead? Or, have you thought to yourself, “Hrmm, maybe I took that the wrong way”, and got confused over whether or not it was an insult or just a remark said in bad taste? In cases where people say things in means of “constructive criticism”---that I don’t mind, in fact I love it. I remember in one case (which is funny), if my mother didn’t like what I was wearing, I’d come out of my room and ask her, “Ma, does this look okay?” And she would stare at me for a good while and then say, “Yeah, umm, does it need to be shortened?” She would say something in order to try to say, “Ugh come on, you’re gonna wear that, are ya?” So now I know, if she pauses before saying it looks nice---she’s conjuring up the good ol’, 'Maybe that needs to be altered' type of suggestion. It’s hysterical because I do it to her all the time. I like honesty, so I told her, whenever something doesn’t look right, please please tell me. Now, she doesn’t hold back and I love it. That’s an incident where constructive criticism is a beautiful thing. But, what if someone says something in order to insult you indirectly and somewhat viciously?

Lately I’m learning more and more that we have absolutely no control over what people say or do. We can’t “correct” them, because in their minds, they are correct. We just have to either accept them and take it for what it is, or if their lack of social skills are to the point of offensive, maybe take a step back from being in their presence so much. For me, I don’t care what my friends are wearing, how they wear their hair or what they do in their personal lives---I’m friends with certain people because I genuinely enjoy their company. I don’t care if someone comes over in their pajamas. It’s not for me to judge. I don’t base my friendships over what they they do for a living, how they eat, or if they recycle ---none of my business. My business is how they treat me as a person and of course, vise/versa. There are times when friendships become too close. One person either ends up trying to get their friend to become a clone of them. ‘You have to do what I do’ type of mindset. That doesn’t sit well with me and when that occurs, I am very bold about how I voice my opinion about that. I don’t try to get every single friend of mine to write blogs or books.  I appreciate and accept all that they do to make them happy as an individual. I don’t try to persuade them that ‘this is more gratifying than what you do’, I share what I love, but I don’t try to change people. If someone in your life always tries to change you, or mold you into ‘one of them’----it’s time to look at their motives or understand their deep seated insecurities. Remember, sometimes misery loves company.

Even in relationships and marriages, why would you want to clone someone? I see this happening a lot and I always think: wouldn’t it be boring to date or be married to someone who did everything I did? Would we have anything to talk about when the day is done? Madelene and I couldn’t be more different if we tried. I totally believe that’s why we work so well. We have so much to talk about. The one thing we have in common that is an absolute must in any intimate relationship I have had is religion. I need them to be on the same wave length as me. For me, that’s very important. But, in terms of hobbies or interests, I love that Madelene has her own set of things she loves to do and that I have mine. When we come together with them all, it makes it that much better. She never has tried to “change me”, or “clone me” into her image. I have never tried to change her as well. Someone once said to me recently, “I would like to meet someone to complete me.” But what I asked her was, “Wouldn’t you want to be complete, before meeting that special someone? Wouldn’t you want to share your completeness with the love of your life?” Like the ol’ saying goes, "You can’t love somebody unless you love yourself."  I believe that with all my heart. If you find yourself in a relationship or friendship where someone is molding you into something you’re not, just remember: it’s not your problem, it’s theirs.