Whenever I think of change, I think of my dad. The first time I ever heard this saying was in 1988. I had been out of my house for a little while. I had about three years, clean and sober. At the time, I was only 18. I was homeless, and I ended up having to move in with my dad for the first time.
When the decision came for me to move in with him. One of the things that he said was, “there is no pain in change. There’s only pain in the resistance to change.” And it has stuck with me ever since.
I can recall a time when I had hurt a young lady that I had been dating. I had never been much on talking about my past. My focus has always been on moving forward. I’m not afraid of my past, that’s just me. But there was something from my past, that she found out about, that hurt her. And I remember saying to someone, with tears in my eyes, “I know that there is no pain in change, but damn it, I want to resist this change.” And I meant it.
The resistance to change that I struggle with is internal change.
The problem I see in many of us is that we’re so busy trying to change everything out there. We want to change everyone around us. We want to change our spouse, our exterior circumstances. But we don’t want to take the time to look inward and see what we need to change inside ourselves.
Realizing the change I needed was within, I found some surrender, some acceptance of the situation. I started looking at why I didn’t say anything about my past sooner. I did a focused inventory of my part, my motivations.
Long story short, we’ve been married now for 12 years.
I may write a lot about our relationship. That’s because, at times, there has been some turmoil. She’s not an addict like I am, but she has struggled with clinical anxiety and depression. We fought a lot and had a lot of struggles initially in our relationship.
There was ample opportunity for me to give up on us early on.
It wasn’t until I quit trying to change and fix her anxiety and her depression. And I started looking at my own. Two kids later, I mean she had one, I had one, and now we have two together. We are still growing and changing together.
“Lack of power is our dilemma.” – Basic Text
Today, the change that I seek the most is the internal change. If I show up and I try to force change on someone else, what happens? I promote disunity. I break the very first tradition.
Today I’m learning to allow change. I share my opinion, my strength, my hope, and I sit back and enable change. The same things had to happen in my relationship with my wife and my kids. I love my kids, but I don’t fight my kids. I don’t control my kids. Limit Them, love them, and then let them be. Guide them, direct them, but don’t control them.
The only time I struggle is when I’m trying to change you, and I’m resisting changing me. Today I’m learning to flip that. I’m learning to resist the need to change you. And instead, I focus inward, and I create change within myself.
“Always aspire to inspire, before we expire.”