Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why do we change?

Well, due to internet problems, I had this post 95% written, and it's all gone now. . . Yippee. However, Over at Julie's blog there's a great Hump Day Hmm this week. The subject is Next week's Hump Day Hmm topic: this is "How far would you go for your kids/family/loved one/self?" I vary the who it is because really, that's up to you, as is the interpretation of the question. Maybe it's 500 miles through a hot and crowded zoo. Maybe it's a move to another country. Maybe it's setting aside something you do. Maybe it's a life change, such as getting sober.

Julie's topic really made me stop to thing. Why do I change? I don't really think that we change for other people. When we start acting different for other people, we don't really change. We just act different. Inside, we're still the same person, and if we feel like we have to act different for that other person, I think that we start to resent that person. Somewhere inside ourselves, we all want to be loved for who and what we are.

People do change though, and changes are almost always brought on by some outside influence. I do some things differently just because I know when I do somethings, Rob will probably smile. Did I make him smile or happy? No. I can't make him happy. I can't make him sad or mad. If he gets mad at something I did, that's up to him. It really is. If he does something, it's up to me to decide whether or not to get mad. I'm in charge of me and he's incharge of himself. At first when writing this post I thought, "I moved out to GA for Rob, and before that, he moved out to Idaho for me." In reality, I moved out to GA because that's where Rob got a job, and it's where he needed to be. I did it for myself because I wanted to be where he was.

Now, I feel like both of us are holding hands with each other, and each of us has a child in the opposite arms. We're racing for a cliff, and we're all going to leap off together. We have some ideas of what Rob wants to do and where he wants to go, but in the end, we have absolutely nothing solid to go on. Both of us just feel that Heavenly Father has a new plan in mind for us right now, so we're going to jump and know that he will catch us. The landing may hurt, but when He catches us, He'll put us where He needs us to be, and we'll go on from there. I think that this may be one of my family's refiner's fires.

In the end, I really want Rob to find his dream. Am I doing this for him? Would I do it for him? Probably not. Why? Because somewhere in life, I have learned that doing things just for other people and hoping for a reaction doesn't always get the reaction we want. I want Rob to be happy, with all my heart. In the end, though, that's not up to me. It' s entirely up to him. I can't make Heavenly Father happy either. He's always happy or sad by His own choices, too. We all have our agency and our choices. The only in control of my feelings is me, and I have to be responsible for them. In my old post, I had written something about an idea, and I think that it helps to sum up my feelings about why I change and how pretty well.

Jackie is generally a happy, well behaved, friendly child. However, she has somehow decided that biting, hitting, and kicking are really good ideas. When she gets in time-out, and I persist until she actually stays in the chair I put her in or the corner that I put her in if she gets out of the chair, then she tells me, "Mommy, I don't like it when you put me in the corner." I respond with something like, "Jackie I don't like to have to help you stand in the corner. You chose to bite. Biting is not an acceptable behavior. When you choose to bite, you choose to go in time-out. If you don't like to go in the corner, follow the rules." I want her to learn that actions come along with the consequences. I don't want to put her in the corner. I'm not trying to make her unhappy. I don't get to choose her feelings about the corner or the chair. However, she doesn't get to choose my feelings about biting either. She would like it if I didn't care whether or not she bites Ben or me. She doesn't get to make that choice. Also, I don't get to choose whether or not she's going to go willingly into time-out or into the corner.

We don't do things for other people. We do things because we like the rewards that come with decisions as a whole. So, really, we do things for ourselves.


Robert said...

Great post. Lately I haven't been responding much on your blog because it's either been something we've talked about, or I feel somewhat silly saying "I agree" on so many things. I enjoyed reading this one, though, and I wanted to comment. I am glad you chose to come with me for yourself, and I am glad we're choosing together to head towards the next chapter. Thanks for the love and support to go for it all.

thailandchani said...

So, in essence, you don't believe there is such a thing as benevolence? Or selflessness? With all respect, I disagree. If it's all about getting rewards, that's bartering.

An example I'd pull out of the wind is Mother Teresa. It's fairly well established that she did the things she did for a higher purpose - and required and asked for no personal reward.


Interesting post! Really!

Melissa said...

Actually, I agree with you. People always do what they want, gunpoint not withstanding. The fact that it benefits other people many times is just a testament to your character, that you WANT to help others, be with others, etc.

Nice post! :)

Julie Pippert said...

I don't find them mutually exclusive. It makes me feel good to know that my loved one feels good and I want them the feel good and it all goes round and round.

The reward for me here in Texas is extremely unexpected. I seriously felt it as a jail term or death sentence, in a way. I talked like that to, and that's not to my credit.

I really saw it as an enormous sacrifice and I had to work through that. My reward was seeing my kids happy. It really was for them.

That I have worked and worked to build a good, new life for me too, in the midst of building a good life for's a credit, but also a bit unexpected.

It's true I can't control how others choose, live, feel or do.

But I do believe in cause and effect. We can influence others and they can influence us. I've been down and my husband has done Just The Thing to help, even if it puts him out. That's a double lift to my day.

So I think it's a circle, inclusive, of benevolence, selflessness, compromise and sacrifice sometimes.

But I agree this was a great post. You know, you have lots of good ones but I might rank this in the top two.

P.S. The see saw is brilliance. Love that!

le35 said...


I do believe in cause and effect, but in the end, I might do something hoping that Rob will feel happy about it, but if he doesn't, I shouldn't get angry with him for that. One of my goals in life is to do things that I know Rob will like. I want to help him be as happy as he can be. In the end though, I'm only in control of me.

At first, in this post, I was going to write how came to GA for Rob, but I really didn't. I really came for me because I wanted to be with Rob, and if that's where he was going to be, then I wanted to be here, too.

Anonymous said...

Love the last paragraph. You are right.

Kimberley said...

You know Ellie I came to Fl to be with my husband not for him, I love my husband, but I wonder if he would have made the same choice if the situation was reversed. I just wonder after seven years of marriage would I have done it all over again, would I have moved 3,000 miles away from my family. Don’t get me wrong I still love EZ E, but Hmmmm…….
PS Great Post I do the same with Lena “you are choosing to sit in time out because…….”