People allow fear to stop them all the time; this is no truer than in relationships. Employees can’t stand how their boss speaks to them, yet they say nothing out of fear of the response. Women hate how their husbands rage, yet they silently accept the men’s wrath out of fear of aggravating them. Adult children cringe at the way their fathers speak to their mothers and their own children, yet they say nothing out of fear the fathers will get angry and stop coming to visit. Women are heartbroken by their husbands’ affairs, yet don’t ask them to end the affairs out of fear the men will leave them.
The list is unending, but the results are always the same—more upset and misery. People would rather sit in the misery than risk having their fear come true. Seldom do people realize that by doing the same thing year after year, they all but guarantee ongoing misery. Sitting back and hoping and praying that someone will change is a recipe for a very unhappy situation. And, when people allow the reaction of someone else to shut them down, they teach that person that their reactions work. In effect, they train that person to continue doing what they’re doing. Why would I not yell and scream every time my husband holds me accountable for doing my share of the housework if, every time, I respond in that way he grows quiet and does it himself? Seems like a great response on my part. I get him off my back AND HE does the housework.
Various toxic behaviors work for people or they wouldn’t do them. Whatever the issue is, the reality is that you teach people how to treat you. If you cower to rage, give in to control, become seductive in response to an affair, etc., you teach the person that these behaviors work. Do you like the lessons you’re teaching?
The moment you take your eyes off the other person’s actions and, instead, look honestly at your own, you can begin to take back control of your life. You don’t have the power to change other people’s behaviors. You only have the power to change your own. Start changing how you react or don’t react, or how you do or don’t stand up for yourself. If you don’t know how to effectively and powerfully stand up—without aggression, bullying or hysterics—then learn how. Stop co-creating a miserable relationship because you think you have no power to change it. You have all the power you need. You just have to step into it.
Step into it.
Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Stop letting your fear prevent you from creating the relationships and the life you want. Don’t settle for an unloving home—that should be your safest refuge, not your biggest fear. Don’t walk on eggshells around your boss, your co-worker or your friend—step in with a grounded powerful strength (GPS) and have your back with confidence, power and grace. No one else will create the life you want for you—only you have that power. Find that power and harness it. Life’s too short to settle.
Challenge: Don’t allow fear to block you from seeing options. Don’t wonder what you can do to change the other person’s behaviors. Start thinking about what you can do to change your own.