Who should change?

When something is bothering you, and you assess your options to deal with it, don’t forget to consider what you can do about it. All too often we look at options for how others can fix the situation and we overlook the ways in which we can fix it without the help of anyone else.

For example, say someone is using a cell phone at dinner. That might bother you. What should be done about this?

It’s natural to want them to stop and you probably feel compelled to tell them how rude they’re being. You make them feel horrible, they stop using the phone, and maybe you’re happy. Or maybe the situation blows up, they use the phone anyways, you feel miserable. Or maybe you feel bad for arguing. Chances are when you expect the other person to change, you’re going to end up unhappy when they don’t.

How about a different question: What can be done about this? What other options do you have in this situation?

Well, you could just not be bothered by it. You could chose to not think of it as rude. And magically the problem can vanish. Now certainly if the person does this at every meal, well then it’s not really a healthy relationship, but is it really a problem from time to time?

When you’re confronted with problems, try to remember to ask yourself what you can do about it. Without the help of anyone else. Because after all you have 100% control over yourself and most importantly, you have 100% control over your perception of a situation. This alone is often enough to fix many things that are bothering you.