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the simple life

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Responsible for Relationships

I have recently been talking to a friend about her problems with her boyfriend.

Since last week, she hasn't spoken to me.

But I don't imagine her problems to be over.

She must have taken my advice because I said to her last week,

"I think when you confide in me, you're doing it more because you need a listening ear rather than have someone lecture you. But I'm afraid I cannot be a good listener. Or rather I choose not to be."

I went on to suggest this:

"Let's face the facts
1. Your problems are not going to magically disappear.
2. You need to come face to face with your problems.
3. You need to take personal responsibility (What can I do?).
If you cant do all these 3, no point reading more or talking to me."

Fierce huh?

I do recognize many people like to work out their problems by talking about it. Or bitching about it. Sometimes, the time taken to talk over the problem means the problem going away, e.g. boyfriend drops dead, etc. But rarely, I think, you can solve your problems by talking about it.

In the few conversations we had, she consistently talked about a few things:

1. How her boyfriend deliberately hurts her and her own needs
2. How her friends voice their misgivings about her
3. Her own misgivings in the past
4. Leaving her problems to God

There's a lot here and I don't feel it's good to air her dirty laundry in the public, even though you have no idea who she is.

But I do think that taking personal responsibility is the most important step. Blaming the other party is not going to help. Raking up the past is terrible. And talking to stupid friends basically messes up your life. (I think most friends mean well but they do give terrible advice. It's stupid to make definitive statements about the relationship when your friend is emotionally vulnerable. If you got such great advice, give it when she's sane, happy and in the best condition to make a decision.)

I do think that we need to be honest with ourselves, with our deepest fears. And even if we can't conquer them, we are at honest at the very least. Then we can stop pointing fingers and accept responsibility for the situation.

I do accept that the other person in this relationship has problems too. But you don't try to solve someone's else problems when yours are still lying around.

My pastor shared with us last year about how for the single and unattached, we are so obsessed with finding the right mate. He suggests to us that maybe we should spend our time and energy, getting ourselves to be the right person for our future mate.

I love that. It's not about the other person anymore. It's about you.

When Jack Canfield shares his 64 success principles in his books, taking 100% responsibility for your life is the first principle. I can't agree more.


At 2/10/2005 07:47:00 PM, Blogger charlieboy said...

I can't agree more too... I have a note sticking on my dash that reads "If you're not responsible for yourself, who is?". I realise this brutal truth and have since made it my personal reminder everyday. It's been liberating.

I'm really glad to have a friend like you =)

At 2/13/2005 06:47:00 AM, Blogger isaiah_sg said...

hey cjt,

Thanks for posting. I appreciate your comments. If I have a car, I'll put this instead - "'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".

I'm so happy for an old friend like you to have the same healthy interest in self-improvement. Can't wait for you to get back. I'll round up the losers.


At 2/18/2005 03:18:00 PM, Blogger Foreign Devil said...

So true...if we can't be happy alone how can we possibly be happy with someone else?


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