One of the biggest issues I see as a mental health therapist is that people often come to me, whether as an individual, couple, or family, and want to focus on the behavior of others. We can’t control the behavior of others. We can, however, choose whether we want to interact with their behavior, so we have control over ourselves. With that said, the only change we can create is within ourselves.
When I look at relationships, including my own, the question isn’t what are they doing? The question is, what am I doing? How am I participating in the relationship? What do I need to do to change myself? How am I contributing to the problems in the relationship? Am I looking to resolve conflict, am I participating in drama, am I creating change within myself to set boundaries and interact with others in a healthy way? You may not be doing anything to contribute to the problems or cause them, but if you don’t set boundaries to not participate in the toxic behavior of the relationship, you are part of the problem.
We can’t change other people. We can’t make anyone feel anything. We can only change ourselves. We are only responsible for our feelings and what we do about them. We are responsible for how we interact with others and what we do to participate in or resolve problems. When we improve ourselves, our relationships will either fall apart or improve. The ones that fall apart aren’t healthy enough to sustain your positive growth and the ones that are sustained, are strong and will only continue to improve.
Think about it, what are you doing to change yourself?