Life happens. Every moment of every day we’re experiencing other people, situations, experiences, thoughts, judgments criticisms, and so much more. Each of these changes us in some small way. You are NOT the same person you were a few days ago, let alone when you were a child. Life happens – and we grow, change and flow along with it.
There’s nothing new in this statement, so why make a big deal out of it? Here’s the thing – many of our habits, attitudes and beliefs were formed through the influences of people around us when we were young. Your attitudes about politics may be aligned with your parents. Your thoughts on what is fair and unfair, racial issues, money, what determines success: all these and more were likely determined or at least heavily influenced in your youth.
But if life happens, it seems important to consistently look at these beliefs, habits and attitudes and adjust them as we change.
For example, many people develop certain coping skills when they are young to deal with family dynamics. Maybe you’re the middle child and you learn to keep your head down and your mouth shut to stay out of trouble. This might have worked in your family unit. Now, as an adult in romantic relationships, you get walked all over or end up feeling like a doormat. You rarely have an opinion and it’s always easier to “just get along.”
But the people and situations in your life have changed. You’re not that middle child any longer – you’re a grown man with ideas, opinions, needs and feelings that others want to know about and want you to share. If you continue with the same habits of your youth, you miss out on a lot of life. Life happens – keeping up with it is our job.
You may not be able to relate to the middle child story. You may have developed a different coping style when you were younger. You may not know what that style is. We all have one of a limited number of styles to manage our stress, communicate our needs and be in relationships.
What is truly important is not to lose sight of what you want, to find ways to state your needs and get them met.
Life happens – you can be in the driver’s seat or the back seat. The choice is up to you.