“It’s not you, it’s me.”
Let’s face it, there are times when you just say that to not hurt their feelings when really you want to get out of the relationship tango with someone because they’re really starting to suck you dry.
You know the ones, the toxics, the dream stealers, the people that stab you in the back then apologise for it later.
Whether it’s family, work or a significant other, we’ve all hit a point when their behaviour gets so irritating and you just know that “if they would just change then everything would be ok because they’re the problem”.
It’s not me buddy, it’s YOU!
But…. well…what if it’s not? What if when you’re trying to spare their feelings you’re actually telling a grain of truth?
I mean let’s face it if every relationship you have ends the same way, every job hits the same glass ceiling, every friend let’s you down then there comes a point when we realise it can’t just be them because the only common denominator is, well, you.
I’m not saying that everything wrong is all your fault – everyone is doing the best they can with what they know – but maybe it’s worth considering that perhaps you do have something to do with it.
While this may be confronting at first, there comes a moment when accepting and believing this becomes really freeing because it is the source of ultimate personal power.
Let’s face it, I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet but you absolutely cannot change anyone. No matter how hard you try, and even though on the surface they may look like they’ve changed they’ll eventually Spring back to true form.
Sure you can change your external environment, quit your job, leave your relationship, move countries – but wherever you go, your problems will keep repeating until deal with the root cause. It’s like chopping the top off a weed and wondering why it grows back.
The only way to stop them growing back is to deal with the roots of the problem.
If the only thing we can change is ourselves then once we accept that the root of our problems is us then it means we can change permanently, get rid of the issues once and for all.
Then the question becomes not can you, it’s will you.
Can you is easy. Every relationship no matter how toxic it seems right now, can be saved with the right tools and guidance by working through the logical levels of change.
Our relationships, jobs, good, bad and ugly are all just the physical evidence of what is going on inside – our beliefs, values, boundaries, passions, skills and behaviours are all bringing us closer to what we believe to be true about our world, making sure we experience what we expect to see. It has to – otherwise we would think we’re going mad.
The tougher question is if the relationship is worth saving. Because saving the relationship will mean comprise and it’s not compromise with them, as some people would think, it’s compromise within you.
Any new relationship- whether intimate, family, friends, school or work – requires a adjustments to make the relationship work. Sometimes this is easy. There is a feeling that you just click and there is very little compromise needed.
In other relationships there is more of a clunk. Perhaps because you were put together by force not choice. Or perhaps a new addition brings a new dynamic that throws a previously great relationship off balance.
But how low will you go?
Getting rid of a few bad behaviours are considered acceptable and often a bonus of being in a new, healthy relationship. But are you willing to change your values or sacrifice your dream?
Just because you can change, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you should change, doesn’t mean you will.
With each level that must change, the effort required to sustainably change is higher. Because to sustainably change levels below, you are fundamentally changing you and years of deeply ingrained patterns of your thinking that started forming as a baby.
So why would you?
Well, why indeed. The only reason anyone changes any internal level (behaviour to identity) is if they have good reason and these reasons either from the top down, Environment, or bottom up, spiritual purpose – love.
Top down change is pushed by external pressures – time, money, someone said you should, new relationships/jobs etc
Bottom up change is inspired by internal truth – love, mission, identity change (spoiler alert – this is always going to have the strongest pull no matter how hard you try to suppress and ignore it)
If the why is big enough and important enough to you – you’ll change. If not, nobody can ever make you.
Yeah, but should I stay or should I go?
Regardless of who’s to blame, if the situation is bad enough for you to be considering leaving then something must change.
While it’s tempting to take the easy path, taking a few extra moments to work on yourself can turn a painful problem into an opportunity to learn and grow.
Here’s a few simple questions to help you decide which change is worth it. Ask and answer them exactly as they are written – yes, they’re a bit confusing but give it a go and see what comes up.
Cartesian Coordinate Questions (aka The Mind Scramble Test)
- What WILL happen if I DO leave
- What WILL happen if I DON’T leave
- What WON’T happen if I DO leave
- What WON’T happen if I DON’T leave
Once you’ve answered them all with leave, answer them again with stay and see how your answers change.
Let us know if you need a hand…