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The Only Thing You Can Control is You

You can't change anyone, you can only change yourself.


By Scott Christian, The Nest

If you're paying any attention at all to the current political landscape, then you'll have noticed a lot of people talking about how things need to change. I don't know if it's specifically an American sentiment, or just a human one, but we spend a lot of time in this country trying to find the scapegoat for all of our problems. We have certain ideals about the way the world should be, and then we get angry when people--or elected officials, or corporations or whatever--don't live up to those ideals. And then, of course, we demand that they change.

It's hard not to see this as a strategy that's built to fail. Trying to control how someone else behaves is fool's errand. And it's just as pointless in the public sphere as it is in a relationship. The simple fact is, if you want the world, or your relationship, to be better, it begins and ends with you.

[post_ads]It's a hard thing to grasp because, in a way, it seems so hopeless. You can't change anyone, you can only change yourself. So what happens if everyone is a jerk but you? Well, whether you improve yourself or not, people are going to behave how they behave. The only difference is that if you try to change them, you'll end up being even more frustrated.

I really think it's true of both a relationship and a society: you have to go into it with no other expectation than that you'll try to be the best possible person you can. And then, of course, you can hope that your partner will do the same thing. But you can't expect it, and you certainly can't demand it. You are the only one you can control, which means that, when it comes to making your relationship better, and the world better, all you can worry about is you.

People are going to do what they do. But you can be good. You can be kind. You can be gracious and wise. And generally, mystically I suppose, when you are, it often comes right back at you. It's funny how kind and generous people tend to radiate that outward, often making people return the favor. And they don't do it by any other means than being kind and generous.

Work on yourself to be a better person, and your relationship will very likely follow. It's really the only thing you can do. 

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Love Magazine: The Only Thing You Can Control is You
The Only Thing You Can Control is You
You can't change anyone, you can only change yourself.
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