Sunday, July 27, 2008

Brilliant Insight of the Day, Applied

Have you noticed how much easier it is to be able to pinpoint problems in the ways other people process life and relationships than it is to apply that very same information to one's own life?

Case(s) in point: This week I have had two different situations in which people talked to me at length about family dynamics, problems and complaints they had with loved ones, that sort of thing. And I had this brilliant insight: People would have much greater peace and serenity if they could accept that people are who they are. Oh, I think occasionally people have epiphanies, life-changing experiences, that sort of thing. But, truthfully, in most cases, people remain true to form. They, to coin a phrase, are pretty much the same today, yesterday, and forever. If your boyfriend criticizes your appearance constantly while you are dating, chances are excellent he will do that after the wedding. If your mother was late for your first grade school play, she will probably be late to your high school graduation. People are who they are, and they don't change much. And if we could just appropriate that information in a real and meaningful way, how much happier we would all be.

Brilliant insight, right? And how easily am I able to apply it to my very own relationships, with my very own loved ones? Not really very easily at all, I regret to report. Even with Beloved. You know I'm mad about the girl. But have I mentioned that we are different as (forgive the cliché) night and day? That she is Felix to my Oscar, and Martin to my Lewis? That I am a night owl and she desires to turn out the lights somewhere around 8:30? That I believe in a certain amount of kind obfuscation (for example, never, ever answering the question "Do I look fat in this?" in the affirmative), and she believes that she must be honest and fully disclosing of all her opinions, even at the risk of causing hurt feelings? We are not the same, my love and I, and nothing is going to change that. Wouldn't it be grand if I were able to really get that, and to let go of the illusion that next time we'll play by my rules?

As I type this Beloved is snoozing gently on my couch. We have just eaten a lovely dinner of Greek style stuffed zucchini (minus the avgolemono sauce) and watched "Daphne, " a biopic about Daphne DuMaurier. I am mad about the girl. In our case I think the differences are part of the fun (except when they're not). Note to self: Just love her.


Unknown said...

Yes. Do you remember the song from Camelot, "How to handle a woman," in which King Arthur puzzles over how to relate to Guenevere? He concludes that "the way to handle a woman is to love her, simply love her, merely lover her, love her, love her..." Good advice for all of us, no matter who we love.
And honestly, isn't it a good dose of what we need when looking at our churches, too? If we concede that people aren't likely to change, what makes us think we can bend a group of people into another shape? Isn't there someone God can work with who they are using our love for them? (Needing to think about this myself, clearly.)

August said...

This made me chuckle. O, and how right you are! (and how hard this is to remember...)

KJ said...

And ain't that the truth? The closer we are to someone, the greater the challenge to let them be who they are.

Family aside, my coming out experience pretty much eradicated any tendency I had towards wanting to change others. "It's their story," is my frequent assessment, which typically receives an exasperated sigh from my mother.

Unknown said...

I've linked to your post from one I just wrote, hope that's okay!

Cecilia said...

Thanks all, and Songbird... thanks for the link!

Pax, C.

Anonymous said...

I know this but I'll be damned if I remember it when it's really necessary and yet I am the first one to point it out with regards to my own foibles.

The character Col. Potter, form MASH, was giving a speech to another character about the difficulty in marriage. He said something to the effect of:

"When she drives you crazy and you can't stand her anymore that is when you just love her more."

Jan said...

All I could think of about letting people be who they are is a prayer I learned from an alcoholic doctor from Alaska. He said to pray it for enemies, but I find I use it as a mantra most of all with family members. It's deceptively simple:

BLESS ______________, CHANGE ME!

Anonymous said...

In the name of Jesus be set free from all disordered desire, by the power of the blood!

Cecilia said...

Anonymous, I would pray the same prayer for everyone... I know that my love for my partner is not disordered.

I pray for the removal of disordered prejudices, too.

Thank you for your concern.

Pax, C.