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January 23, 2014

Changing Me, Changes We: Taking Control of Your Life

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There are countless women all over the world settling for poor relationships, bad jobs and unfulfilling lives.

  • Sally is in her third long-term, miserable romantic relationship with yet another man who has issues with anger and control.
  • Karen feels like a demanding boss, a crazy work schedule and a toxic work environment have sucked the life out of her.
  • Leigh can’t believe she’s stayed in her emotionally cold marriage for 20 years.

All these women -- and countless more -- can’t believe they’ve ended up where they have. Many of them are lonely, overworked, tired and resentful. They’re resentful that the people in their lives don’t treat them better. They’re angry that the years have trickled by with little change and they’re sad that somewhere along the way they have lost themselves.

What many of these women don’t know, though, is that the only one responsible for getting them where they are is themselves. What they don’t know is that they, and only they, have the power to change things. They don’t realize that their utter focus on changing those around them has resulted in those women staying stuck themselves.

The more they tried to “make” others be kinder, softer, more available, the more time they wasted. The more they tried to work longer hours for their crazy boss, bow down to their spouse’s rage and over-accommodate for their lover’s short-comings, the more they sabotaged their dreams. The more they sabotaged their dreams, the more they lost themselves. And the more they lost themselves, the more hopeless, angry and resentful they became.

Women without number find themselves repeating toxic patterns in their relationships. They end up with the “same” guy, who just happens to have a different name or with the same job, but in a different company. Many of these women saw the same warning flags well before they got involved with man or job number one, two and three. Some didn’t see any red flags until they were deeply entrenched, at which time it became difficult to disentangle. All of the women let things go too far, get too bad and last too long.

The hard reality that all women would benefit from hearing is this: You’re responsible for your happiness. You determine your life. You create your future. When things aren’t the way you’d like them to be, you are responsible for changing them. Continually trying to get others to change their moves is the quickest way to sabotage your future. Get your eyes off the other person and back on you.

  • If your partner rages… change your response to his rage.
  • If your boss demands 24/7 attention…don’t buy in, look for another job, set limits or do all of the above.
  • If you’re controlling, critical and perfectionistic…learn to let go and be more compassionate.
  • If your date flirts with other women…recognize the red flags early and move on.

It’s an act of courage and takes enormous strength for a person to be accountable for their mistakes, imperfections and struggles. I challenge women across the world to step into this level of accountability and to take full ownership of their happiness. Neither blaming others for causing our pain nor looking to others to solve our pain serves women. When women learn to effectively step into the world in a new way, their world will change. Get grounded, not reactive; powerful, not aggressive, and strong, not helpless. Rely on yourself for change and stop looking to others to make you happy.

Challenge: If you’re unhappy, courageously look at yourself and how you’re sabotaging your happiness. Step into your life differently and take control of your destiny. 

 

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