This next year of my life will hold a lot of changes. Our last child will enter school, our oldest will be an official teenager, we'll celebrate 15 years of marriage, and on and on...
Each year at my birthday, I like to take some time to reflect on how I can be a better person. My 35th year Mantra was, "Learn to love and accept the people in your life exactly as they are. Don't expect things they can't give, and appreciate them exactly as they are, without trying to change them."
It served me well, and I have to say, it changed my life. When I could let others be who they were without judgement or disappointment, I enjoyed my relationships immensely more, and learned so much about the people God has placed in my life. Instead of trying to be an agent of change, I allowed them to help me learn the art of acceptance and grace. Pity I waited 35 years to try this out!
Maybe you have some "challenging" people in your life. I'd encourage you to borrow my mantra and try out truly enjoying whomever you're with without thinking to yourself, "I love ____. If only they could _____ things would be so much better." Instead, try, "I sure do love _____. I know they can frustrate me at times, but it's not their fault that I have an unrealistic expectation of them. What can I appreciate about them today, right now, in this moment? Why do I feel like I need to change ____?" So Suzie's not the one to call when you break your leg and need someone to watch your kids, that's ok, maybe she's the one who will bring over fudge brownies and make you laugh till you cry and forget about the cast. Appreciate the comedy, and get over your expectations!
This has also been extremely helpful in setting boundaries (something I've always struggled with). If I know Johnny can't give me the kind of respect I deserve, I don't waste my energy trying to get him to be someone he's not capable of being right now, and I don't waste my time, efforts, and emotional energy trying to convince him to be respectful... I simply limit my time and exposure to situations that make me feel uncomfortable. This equals a whole lot of freedom for me! He can be him, but I don't have to subject myself to his difficult behavior.
So today, enjoy those in your life, let go of those silly expectations, and let others be exactly who they are. Protect yourself with boundaries and time limits with those who don't get you where you want to be, and enjoy those who surround you every day!
Have a great day my friends!