Snow street scenesIn many parts of the country, this has been a brutal winter…

Even in our part of the world, we have been putting up with more cold then we are accustomed to.

So, if you happen to find yourself driving on ice, what do you have to do to stay on the road?  Well, if you just put your foot on the brake, and don’t let go, then you will likely slide and cause an unsafe condition.

What I learned is this:
“Trying harder is not always the answer.  It can even make things worse.”

Swimming against a rip tide holds a similar result. If you swim directly towards the shore, you will wear yourself out and then you will be unable to safely return to shore. Instead, a method of going along with, letting go, and moving into the current with minor adjustments to swim across the tide. is a much more effective means of survival.

In relationships, “Trying too hard” can be equally damaging. Such as “trying too hard to talk things out,” if you are both frustrated, angry, and stuck in your way of thinking. This can cause you both to just dig your heels in, and not hear what the other is saying.

With children, when we try to make them listen to our rationale and do things our way, it is sometimes much harder than it’s worth. It can also make for a very unpleasant interaction, that may have been avoided. Therefore, the age-old advice to: “Pick your battles,” holds true.

So, what I see as a possible solution is to keep in mind the overall goal. For example, when arguing with a spouse, child or parent, ask yourself “what is the real meaning of this relationship? Is it to get something from the other person, or is it to share a life together, to connect, to encourage growth?”

And if we are keeping these values in mind: connection, sharing, growth, then how does this current behavior of “demanding that this person change” fit in with the over-arching goal? Is it working for you to pressure someone to change?

So, the question is not, “Is it the right/wrong thing to do or say?” or even, “Is this working to change the behavior or not?” but, “How does it impact our goal for growth, sharing and connecting in the relationship with the individual?”

I hope this helps us to let go of the need to try to fix it all, and lighten up and allow others to be the imperfect people that they are. And while we’re at it, maybe we could allow ourselves to be imperfect too.

Doing My Best to…  Live Life on Purpose!

Terri Mudge