We Can't Change Others, We Can Only Accept Them

I have been so blessed to be married to Beth. We have been married for 36 years, but known each other for 40 years. She said she knew I was different when she met me, but being with her has helped me succeed because she has accepted me for exactly who I am instead of trying to change me.

 

I think sometimes we want to control other people. Maybe we wish they were more productive or that they wouldn’t work so hard. Maybe we wish they would connect with family more or that they would not be so overbearing on people. We want to make corrections to their life, so we try to adjust their behavior so that they fit into the box we want them to.

 

When we accept people where they are, we try to understand who they are, where they are within their life circumstances and where they want to be. And then we encourage them to continue on their path.

 

When we accept someone where they are, when we say, “I understand you have flaws. I understand that you see things differently than I do. And that’s okay. You’re perfect just like that,” we also open the door for people to understand and accept us in return.

 

Being in a relationship where we wake up everyday, ready to sacrifice to so that the other can feel this type of love has been the greatest blessing of my life.

How to Get Through the Fog

This is the time of the year when CEO students feel particularly overwhelmed. At the beginning of the spring semester, they have new classes starting, their class business is coming up, they are thinking about their college plans and just beginning to establish their personal business.

They are feeling the weight of all these things. Often, when we are waist-deep in thick of life, the weight of the world can feel so heavy that we can’t even move. We can’t do anything.

It’s like being in a fog where you can only see 30-feet ahead of where you are. But the good news is that you can see 30-feet ahead. Once you move that distance, you will be able to see the next 30-feet. And the next.

 

It’s important when you feel overwhelmed like that to break your next steps down, looking at the next thing to do while still keeping your sights set on the outcome of all you are doing.

When you think about the 5 things you have to do 100 times a day, it seems like you have 500 things to do. If you take the time to just write out what you need to do, you'll look at this little bit of chicken scratch, and you'ill say, I sure feel busier than that, but this list is manageable!

Making Little Changes

With the turning of the New Year, it’s a great time of year to reflect on where you are and where you want to be in your life.

Some people may set a New Year’s Resolution to eat less sugar so they lose weight. Other people know they want to spend more time with their family, so they decide not to work on weekends.

When we set our sights on the future, whether we call it a goal or a resolution, we are looking towards a larger picture that can guide the smaller choices we make in our lives.

Maybe you want to become a better basketball player than you were last year. The answers to your small questions, your daily routine, then become obvious. You shoot free throws in the driveway. You get to practice early for an extra workout. You watch, read, learn and practice because you said you are going to be a better basketball player. And that’s what makes you better.

Let’s say you want to become a better person by accepting others right where they are. Then you can start immediately doing that the next time you meet someone by not placing judgement on where you think they should be, but by meeting them for who and where they are.

You can do the same thing every time you interact with someone: family members, friends, colleagues, everyone. There are all kinds of opportunities to practice that every single day.

And then, after time, that bigger picture becomes a reality because it changes who we are and it becomes natural in what we do every day.

Praise and Criticism

When I went to the premiere of my documentary about World War II, I felt so good about the final product. The town held a lovely premiere where people dressed up and there was a buzz in the air. PBS was ready to pick up the film to air nationally. And I stood in the back of the theater as I watched people enjoy the film.

But the moment the movie was over, the very first person out of the theater came up to me upset that her husband’s story was not one that was chosen in the final cut.

At that point in my life, I knew to expect praise and criticism. And I also knew that the film was a success because I helped people gain some insight into World War II and it also gave the survivors a platform to tell their story.

Over the years of creating music, films and blog posts, I have seen my confidence build with success, but I’ve also gained the understanding that it’s not always the response of a project that makes it a success. Instead, before I even take on or begin a project, I ask myself, who will be better because of this?

As long as I can satisfy myself with that, then it’s not predicated by someone liking my work or it receiving awards. If my work, whatever it is, can make someone better then all the other noise falls away, and I know that I am making something for the right reasons.