When somebody you love causes you emotional pain by being who they are and doing what they do, in order to ease your pain, you have to examine your relationship. Although everything would be better if your loved ones would see things your way and treat you the loving way you deserve to be treated, that is not how things usually work out. Of all of the people in your relationships, the one you have the best chance of changing is you.
Changing yourself may be more possible than changing another person, but it is not easy. In order to change yourself, you have to learn new ways of seeing the world. As you learn new ways, you also have to forget the old ways. It is much easier to learn new ways than to forget old ways. In learning new ways, you get happy, optimistic messages. You can do it. It is in your power. The choice is yours.
Forgetting the old ways is more difficult. When you encounter your loved ones doing what they do, being who they are, you experience your old reactions. It’s like getting smacked across the face with a mackerel. It’s hard to ignore. All you can do when you feel that fish slap is to notice your reaction. Take a deep breath and give yourself some distance from your immediate response. Imagine the pain in your loved ones’ lives that motivate their problematic behaviors. Focus on the love that connects you, rather than the behavior that frustrates you. Use your moment of awareness to help you incorporate your newly learned ways into your life.
As you become more aware of your reactions, you can change the dynamic of your relationships. As you recognize your responses, you will also recognize your loved ones’ behavior patterns and you will learn to expect and possibly accept those behaviors. You will be able to position yourself in relation to the behaviors in a way that no longer causes you such pain. When you gain that perspective, you will find yourself able to address your loved ones’ pain with caring and compassion.
As you practice focusing on love and harmony in all of your relationships with friends, family and others, you will feel stronger compassion for those loved ones who suffer doing things the way they do them. You have the power, the choice is yours, you can use that holy mackerel of habitual reactions to transform your life.