We all would like to think at our age we know the difference between the truth and a lie. For the most part, we probably do. The years and experience have given us wisdom. We are not so gullible. Yet, some things still have a tendency to trip us up. Cross our wires and make us question our common sense. Or is it just me?
I am guilty. I hate to admit it, but I am. Call it human nature (or frailty), lack of knowledge (at the time) or simply bad decisions, but I have personal experience in every one of the examples. How does that help YOU? Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you already know these things and wonder why I’m on the slow train. Or maybe, deep inside, we all know them and it is just a good idea to refresh our minds and our hearts. I have learned it is very easy to detect the shortcomings in others but have a more difficult time finding ourselves in the mirror. Go find a mirror and read this out loud.
Lie #1. If They Love me, They Will Change.
No, they won’t. And if they do, it’s only temporary to get you to shut up. Consider this…. You need a microwave so you head to Target. They have a sale on toaster ovens. So you buy one of them instead and take it home. You open up your favorite Lean Cuisine and pop it in and turn it on. Wait…. You wouldn’t do that. Right? Why? Because you know a toaster oven does not act like a microwave! The look and function is somewhat similar, but it is not a microwave. It isn’t going to change what it is just because you are hungry, irritated and demanding.
The same basic logic applies to people. When you meet someone and decide they are worth your time and energy to pursue, you are accepting them ‘as is’. This is even more relevant as we get older and more set in our ways. You need to be very clear with yourself about the traits and habits you want or don’t want in a partner. We tend to start out saying we accept and even admire their differences; while deep down we are plotting an intervention. The next person you meet is not signing up for self-improvement classes.
I am not discounting compromise or room for growth. Of course, when you are in a relationship both parties have to be willing to forego, occasionally, something they want in order to please or help out. And meeting someone with differing hobbies and strengths can enable us to enrich our own lives. I probably never would have played disc golf or kayaked if it were not for dating someone that exposed me to those activities.
No, what I’m talking about is pressuring someone to be who they are not, and using love as their motivation. Asking an introvert to be the life of the party. Wanting a health conscious person to pig out on burgers and deep fried Twinkies. Expecting someone who likes to binge watch Netflix every weekend on their couch to go run a marathon. Getting upset when the agnostic won’t attend the early service. Putting your date in uncomfortable physical situations just to open their mind. These have nothing to do with love, and everything to do with manipulation.
And here is the flip side to this. YOU do not have to change to please anyone. Know who you are. Own who you are. If you need to improve or work on things, do it because it will make your heart smile. Never lose yourself just for the sake of finding another. Truly, if they care they will never ask for such a sacrifice. And you should not ask it of someone either.
Lie #2. It Is Too Late
It is possible to be too late for some things. Your doctor appointment. The plane departure. A work deadline. I am not suggesting being irresponsible. However, never let yourself believe it is too late to start over.
It is not too late to say “I’m sorry”. The offense may have been careless and tiny or possibly a larger betrayal of trust. A friend. A family member. A partner. You may think they have forgotten, or maybe the opposite; it is just too huge to be forgiven. But if YOU are still thinking about it; if it pushes into your thoughts or has affected your interactions with this person, then it is not too late. I can’t promise they will accept. I can’t promise it will restore the relationship. I can promise it will heal your heart. Living with regret over words or actions is an emotional cancer that destroys our joy. Those two words are extremely powerful. Never believe it too late to use them.
It is not too late to improve your health. Even small steps can bring big rewards. Our bodies are only as good as we cherish and care for them. Even though it is true that bad habits can have long reaching effects, it is also true that some of those effects can be reversed. Weight can be lost. Blood pressure lowered. Exercise started. There is an almost endless supply of help, hints and encouragement to live a healthier lifestyle. There is no age limit and some of the benefits can be felt almost immediately. All it takes is a decision and determination, and you can start on a track to feeling and being more energized and healthier. Today.
It is not too late to pursue your dreams. This is a HUGE. And I’m telling myself this one as I type. Decisions made when we are young often send us down roads we did not expect to travel. Life circumstances seldom turn out the way we hoped. But most of us have ‘something’ that we have always wanted to try. Do not fall into the excuse traps…I’m not smart enough, young enough, thin enough, rich enough, no one would take me seriously. It doesn’t matter what others think. You will never know if you don’t at least try! Learn to dance. Go sky-diving. Sign up for a cooking class. Or a taekwondo class. Travel. Write a song. Audition for a play. Buy a guitar. Or a fiddle. Whatever it is that you have stored in your mind’s attic, take it out, dust it off and TRY IT!
My dear friends, it is easy to spot the obvious lies and deception that we often see in the world around us. And unfortunately there is often little that we can do to change those things. But we are all in a very unique and awesome position to alter the outcome of OUR life. Stop telling yourself and believing things that simply are not true. Own your life. Own your decisions. Create a beautiful life based in the truth.
And speaking of the truth….next time we will talk about truths that stare us in the face and we ignore their existence. Look past them like they are ghosts. And just like ghosts…they can haunt us if we don’t deal with them.
So until then….