I don’t do very much talking these days but I do a lot of listening and something has become glaringly obvious to me.
A lot of people like being treated badly.
Not like they literally like getting punched in the face. But that’s what they have developed an appetite for.
There’s a myriad of reasons why this happens.
Some people feel guilty for their past so they want to punish themselves.
Some people only know abuse so that’s what they have associated with love.
Some people love to be able to play the victim so they seek out situations that will cause them to be one.
Some people are codependent and feed off the feeling of martyrdom in saving someone and loving the unloveable.
All of them are rooted in dysfunction. We spend a lot of time trying to work with people through the “why” but, unless you are professionally trained, it is not our job to do that. That is up to the individual. And this is why so much time is wasted in relationships. Not even just romantic. A lot of energy is put into trying to figure out the “why” and trying to work around the “what” of other people’s dysfunction but it shouldn’t be. We have to simply leave space for people to do that for themselves while we do the same for ourselves.
People do what they want to do. Instead of spending all of our energy trying to fix others, we really have to internalize it and figure out our own crap. We have pitfalls and blind spots and weaknesses and character flaws that we turn a blind eye to while we distract ourselves from doing our own internal work.
Now is a good time to change. Instead of pouring droves of energy into trying to figure out why other people operate the way they do and constantly letting them dump their drama on you, understand that people mostly like where they are because they have grown accustomed to it. That is what they have developed an appetite for. And in order to change their behavior and thus their lives, they have to change their tastes. Will Smith said it perfectly, you have to cultivate a TASTE for peace. Until a person does that, no amount of bailing them out and listening to their same old stories about the same old stuff and going through the same old rigamarole is going to change them. You will continue to use up your time and energy on people who are pressed to complain about their situations but not pressed to change them. And that’s okay. They have the right to stay exactly where they are.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re going to be the one to change their life. You won’t. Only they can do that. You do, however, have the power to change YOUR life. And I implore you to take that energy that you’ve put into others and use it on yourself. It took me a while to learn this lesson, but once I started focusing on myself my life doubled in peace.