Taken from BoSanchez.ph » Stop Trying To Fix People
One day, a wife came to her husband with a magazine in her hand, “Darling, this article is wonderful. It describes a little activity that we can both do to improve our marriage. Can we do it together?”
“Sure,” her husband said.
“It says here that for one day, each of us will separately write a list of what areas we want the other to change. Little annoyances, little irritations, etc. And then tomorrow, we share this list to each other. Deal?”
“Deal!” the husband smiled.
That day, the man sat on the living room with paper and hand. The wife went to the bedroom and did the same thing.
The next day, over breakfast, the wife said, “Game? Can I start first?”
“Yes,” the husband said.
The wife pulled out three pages. Single spaced. Font 8. It was a long list. She began to read her list. “Darling, I don’t like it when you do this…” On and on, she read the little ways her husbands annoyed her.
The man felt a sting in his heart. The wife noticed this and asked, “Do you want me to continue?”
“I can handle it. Go on,” the man said.
So the wife continued to read.
Finally, the woman said, “Okay, it’s your turn.”
The husband pulled out his piece of paper and said, “Yesterday, I asked the question what are the changes I want in you. But hard as I tried to think, I couldn’t think of one thing.” He then showed to her the empty piece of paper in his hand. “Because to me, you’re perfect in your imperfections. I’ve accepted who you are—strengths and weaknesses. And I love the whole package. I love the mix. You are a wonderful person and I love you so much.”
The wife began to sob, rolled up her three pages in her hand, and beat her husband on the head, “Bwiset ka!” And hugged him tight for a very long time.
We want to fix people because we love them. But sometimes, our motives aren’t pure. Sometimes, we want to fix our loved ones because of shame. We’re ashamed of what other people will say about our kids, our siblings, our spouses, and our parents. Another reason of our “fixing other people” tendencies is we’re afflicted with the disease called comparisonities. Someone told me that marriage is like going to a restaurant. After you ordered your dish, you learn what the other table ordered, and suddenly regret what you ordered. Believe me, this urge to compare causes so much misery in marriages. If you always compare your wife’s body with Beyonce or Angel Locsin, she can’t compete. Or if you compare your husband’s salary with Manny Paquiao’s earnings, he can’t compete. Many times, we compare our spouse to someone who doesn’t exist. For example, we fantasize about Hollywood stars who aren’t real. Because all their blemishes were removed by photoshop and a huge PR company.
Before you get married, you should be very careful in evaluating your future spouse. Check everything. Values. Background. Preferences. Reactions. Beliefs. Examine everything! But when you get married, stop evaluating. Stop critiquing. It’s now time to stop fixing the other person and start appreciating the entire person in his totality. Remove the robes of the courtroom judge. Instead, put on the robes of a painter capturing the beauty of a scene. An artist simply accepts what is and nurtures a gratitude for what is there. When you accept the other person and become grateful for him, a great miracle happens: The person learns to accept himself too and thus bring healing of his Heart Wound. Changes begin to take place spontaneously.
What You Like And What You Don’t Like. Maybe one And the same thing. I have mixed feelings about my cellphone. I like it and I don’t like it. Here’s what I noticed: The very features that I like are the very same features that I don’t like. Absurd but true. Why do I like my phone? I like the fact that I can call up the 954 people in my phone directory anytime. Useful when I have a flat tire, when I need a prayer, or when I’m on the rooftop because of Typhoon Ondoy. Why do I not like my phone? I don’t like the fact that these 954 people can call me up at anytime—even when I’m lying on a hammock in a tiny island far out in the Pacific Ocean. Question: Have you ever had the absurd experience of leaving your cellphone at home and having to make a U-turn to come back for it? Nuts, right? Cellphones are now like one of our kidneys. You can still survive if it gets lost, but it’ll be risky. I repeat: The very things that I like are the very same things that I don’t like. Funny, but this is also true with our relationships…
Why Did You Fall In Love? Don’t be shocked, but the very thing that made you crazy for a person will be the very same thing that will drive you crazy in the years to come. I’m not kidding. If you fell in love with your wife because she was bubbly and the life of the party, today, you want to zip her mouth so that there would be world peace. If you fell in love with your husband because he was quiet, strong, and steady as a rock, today, you want to curse him for being so cold and unresponsive—like you’re talking to a rock. If you fell in love with your wife because of her stunning beauty, today, you find yourself pulling your hair in the car, waiting for her because she takes 3 hours just to dress up and put on her make-up. Remember, every strength has a weakness.
To repeat my million-dollar point: If you want to have happy relationships, you’ll have to stop trying to fix people and start appreciating them. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor”; He didn’t say, “Fix your neighbor.”
Two reasons why you need to stop fixing people.
First, you can’t.
Second, I’ve realized that people are like old houses. If one thing gets fixed, another thing gets broken.
Remember, you can never fix anyone because fixing is an inside job. Never forced from the outside. You should inspire. You should guide. You should teach. But you cannot force. At the end of the day, the only thing you can do is to love and appreciate the person by creating space for the other person to fix himself.