Adapt or Perish

Neither situations nor people can be altered by the interference of an outsider. If they are to be altered, that alteration must come from within.
--Phyllis Bottome, Survival

If you are looking for a change in your mate and see no signs of its coming, stop looking! You are with whom you are with because you choose to be with them. Stop looking for something else and see the love in whom you are with.

If you are listening to hear something from your mate that you haven't heard, stop listening! If you are waiting for a change, stop! You chose this person! You chose them because they opened your heart. you chose them precisely because of who they are and how they sounded. Stop checking to see if they are going to change because you may have changed. Stop waiting to see if they are going to change into what you knew they were not. See who this is. Hear what they say. Accept what they do as the truth of who they are and look for the love in them.

It is not loving to expect someone to change because you want them to or because you think they should. Love is consistent. Love allows us to see and hear the best of what we have right now. The love within us grows when we grow. It shifts as we shift. When how we love grows and shifts, love gives us the opportunity to choose again, whether or not our partner changes.

Very often when we change, our needs change. At this point, we can become very demanding of our mates. By asking your partner to change to your reality, you are asking that they ignore their own. Looking for, listening for, checking for or demanding change is not loving. It is controlling! The cure for this type of unloving control is simple. If who you have and what you have no longer meets your needs, choose again.

Until today, you may have been preoccupied with changes you need you mate to make. Just for today, look for and embrace the things you love about who your partner is right now.

Today I am devoted to putting aside my demands for change and seeing the truth and love in who my partner is!

-Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! - Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind ©2000

When we stop to think about it, most of our pain comes from resistance to change. In a changing world, resistance to change brings calamity. Change is not a hurdle to be jumped, it is a process to be experienced.
--Gene D. Oliver, The Art of Change

It started with dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction with my relationships, with my experiences, with my life as it was - a need for change. There was a void, a need, a... something... undefinable, un-graspable, un-whatever. It was so confusing, but this much was clear: something needed to happen, somehow, to make this different, to make it better. It just had to be better. I was dissatisfied. It was so difficult to define what the problem was, but I took a shot at it. I thought it might be my spouse. I hinted, prodded, suggested, then outright demanded that she change, thinking that if she changed it would make a difference, if she conformed to my idea of how things should be, everything would be just fine. All she had to do was to live up to my expectations, and everything would be peachy. Of course, that went over like a turd in the punchbowl. {Sorry, I tend to be too colorful sometimes, but you get the point.} It didn't work, just like Iyanla Vanzant suggests. My reality was not hers. It took me 4 long years to figure that out. Meanwhile, dissatisfaction accumulated in my life like leaves below the trees in autumn. And me without a rake.

I then moved on in the process until I reached the point that I made a decision: fill the void, satisfy the need, resolve the issue. Gee, that was simple. Decisions are easy to make. Now I really needed to find a definition for that void, the need, the issue, that undefinable, un-graspable, un-whatever. My mate told me there actually was no problem, as if ignoring the matter could smooth things out for me. At the very least, the problem wasn't her, she was sure of that. She was right, but it took me a while to understand that. But, on the other hand, the last thing she wanted was change. Things were comfortable as they were, so there certainly couldn't be a problem, now, could there? More leaves. No rake. But this much was certain: I was not going to make her change, no matter what I did. Those choices were hers. I had choices, too.

Still, I had Made A Decision. Now what? Action! Dang, that means change. Somebody isn't going to like that.

Acting upon knowledge is to exercize responsibility. Acting upon knowledge does wonders for my sense of personal integrity. In the words of Yoda, "Do or do not. There is no try." There is no such thing as fence-sitting when one is talking about action. One can procrastinate and delay the day of that which is inevitable, but one cannot, as Yoda points out, merely try. Once I committed to the course, once I began to execute the plan that lead to changes in my life, other changes were required of me. I had no idea about the magnitude of changes, or where they would lead me. I had my rake, and there was a lot of leaves. And here was the opportunity to clean up some of the mess.

It became easier, once I stopped resisting it. Once I began to look at it as something to be experienced, treasured and profited from, that which was once murky and confounding became definable, easy to grasp, almost manageable, especially when taken one day at a time. The problem was me, and I had all the tools I needed to fix it. But it took action. All the tools in the world will not build anything until they are properly used. I still have some leaves, but I know where the rake is, and how to use it!

The only thing that stays the same in my life is change. For me, there will always be some sort of dissatisfaction about something. There will always be decisions to be made as a result of that dissatisfaction. And there will always be a need for responsible action by following through with appropriate choices, based on knowledge and experience. Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice leads to more change.

You can adapt, or you can perish. Either way requires you to change. Get used to it. Get a good rake - you'll need it.



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