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Time May Change Me, But I Can't Change Him

Change: the inevitable force that gives meaning to the ol’ “It’s not you, it’s me” break up line. Its cliché and maybe it’s overused, but there is some sincerity to it. When I think back upon my last relationship (as I often do while eating massive amounts of calories and watching Law and Order: SVU) it really did boil down to the whole issue of change. 

Kelsey Zeran, Guest Blogger
My relationship started off as most do, a chance meeting in a coffee shop (no really, I swear). Okay, actually I am romanticizing it a bit. The coffee shop was the Starbucks inside a grocery store, and the chance meeting was when I ran out of deodorant and had to pass directly in front of the coffee kiosk to wander down the wonderfully named “feminine aisle.” There it was: the stars crossed, planets aligned, and he asked me out on a date. You would think that with such a Shakespearean start-off, this relationship was bound for greatness, but you’d be wrong. Towards the end, it was unbearable. He was my first love, and the reality of what someone else can make you feel was earth-shattering. Do I blame him? Obviously. But mostly I blame my mother. Okay, I blame myself too. But it was she (or maybe society) that instilled in me this false sense of ability: that I was somehow able to mold another human being into the perfect boyfriend/future husband. In short, I thought I could change him.

The red flags in the relationship were thrown up right away, seeing as how there was a “communication error” that lead to me being stood up on our first date. But he was so cute and he made me feel excited and spontaneous. I gave him another shot. He showed up the next time, but it didn’t take long for me to see that punctuality was not one of his strengths. Surprisingly enough neither was courtesy, or empathy. We had our issues I thought, but he’s never once cheated on me, he doesn’t hit me, and all these little things will eventually fall into place. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that men who do not possess the previous character flaws are automatically prince charming, but I was under the misguided impression that these things, these “little things” like being on time, being up front, and being dependable would change. What I didn’t understand at the time was that these weren’t little things; they were a part of someone’s personality. For two years, I shrugged of things like making excuses to friends and family why he was late or never showed up. I buried the anxiety I felt when he promised things and backed out at the last minute. And then, I started to point it out. I started to say how it made me feel, and how it made him look. I nagged him, I whined, I even dragged him huffing and puffing into couples therapy. I was attempting to change him, and it was completely, miserably, unsuccessful.

Sometimes I think as women, we have this deep-seated idea that we are supposed to “train” men to be good partners. On several occasions throughout my life I distinctly remember my mother advising me to “nip it in the butt” when it came to unfavorable qualities in the men I dated. It’s as if we as woman are not only born with the ability to bear children, but also the ability to mold other adults into becoming the partners we’ve always wanted. To make a long story short, it didn’t work. I wasn’t able to craft my ex into the man of my dreams. I spent two years of my life trying to force him into possessing qualities that were not important to him, but that had become decidedly vital to me.

 It was a slow process in coming to terms with that realization, but finally it clicked. There are so many things I am unsuccessful about changing within myself, what made me think I could change something about someone else? What I always hear from other friends and family who seem undeniably in love is that when you meet that “right person” you just know. And as frustrating and unhelpful as that statement seemed at the time, I think I’m starting to wrap my head around it now. I hope that the day I really meet my other half, I don’t want to change a single thing about him. I hope that all of his weirdness and quirks I find endearing or even matched perfectly to my own. Corny as this may sound, I am grateful for the tears and heartache. From them, I learned what I want in someone else, and most importantly what I will not tolerate. It was true when I told him “it’s not you, it’s me”, because it was me. It was me learning what I wanted; it was me changing my expectations. Hopefully one day, he finds a girl who is just as late (and thoughtless and careless) as he is, and then all those things that drove me up the wall won’t matter to her. And as for me, I am a changed woman. I know my limits, I’ve come to terms with my expectations for other people, and I’ve put change in its rightful place: it’s okay for people to change and grow on their own accord, but it’s fruitless to try and change someone else.  

Kelsey Zeran
Real Person, Real Life Advice
Stay Tuned: Future Blog to Follow

The Power of Questions

Questions direct our focus. Our focus directs our emotions.

Take a moment to think about all of the questions you ask yourself each and everyday. 

What's for breakfast?
Why is there so much traffic? 
When is it time to go home?
Why am I not good enough?
Why do I have to work out?
Who cares?

You get the idea. 

What you may not realize is that we ask ourselves hundreds of questions each day, and whether or not we consciously answer each question, the questions are being answered.

Questions force our mind to search for answers. It's simply our mind doing it's job, functioning as it's meant to. The quality of the questions we ask, directly affects the quality of the mental state we live in.

Knowing this, we can acknowledge that we are somewhat in control of the things our mind focuses on, right? 

Start asking yourself some empowering questions. Chose to focus on things that will give you strength, happiness, hope, joy, gratitude. 

What was great about today?
What am I grateful for?
What am I excited about this week?

Make it even more fun by reconnecting with the little kid inside of you, and ask yourself one goofy question each day.

If I could do ANYTHING, what would I do?
If I could be any animal what would I be? Why?
What would my superhero name be? 

Can you see how these questions can spark creativity, laughter, and light heartedness? Something we could really benefit from right after a stressful meeting or while stuck in rush hour traffic.

It's all about making little adjustments and being aware of the power of questions and focus. It could be the difference between a great day, and a rough day. What would you chose?

For those in business and leadership roles, the questions you ask your clients, employees, and customers also help to direct their focus. 

How can we give our guests a great experience?
What was great about that presentation?
What do you like about the product?

Something to think about...

The Truth about Laughter

Did you know....

Laughter strengthens the body's ability to fight disease.
Laughter releases endorphins.
Laughter reduces stress.
Laughter anchors positive experiences.
Laughter can lower blood pressure.
Laughter releases tension.
Laughing 100 times a day can provide the same benefits as rowing for 10 minutes. 
Laughter causes you to focus on the great things in life.
Laughter can break you out of a funk.
Laughter is infectious, pass it on.
Laughter sounds the same across all cultures.

Something to think about...

Is it time to give yourself permission to laugh today? 
Is it time to let lose and be a kid again?


Getting What You Want in Times of Adversity

There are some trends in our current global economic state, trends that not only effect “grown ups” but also young people and teens. Rates of unemployment are up and yet cost of living seems to keep increasing. Opportunities to pursue higher education are made more difficult with less funding and scholarships available. These can all seem rather discouraging when you’ve got a clear vision for what you want to have in life.

I have a few tips to help you work through these challenges and stay on course towards the things you want in life, whether it’s going to university, getting a job or living independently.

CLARITY: Having a vision and having goals is a vital first step in this process of overcoming adversity. Having clarity in your vision and goals is what will set you apart from every other person that simply says “I want a job.” It’s about knowing exactly what you want, for example, having that laser focus on what universities you want to attend and what degrees you want to pursue.  Clarity causes a ripple effect of success. Clarity creates certainty. Once you know exactly what you want, you are Certain you will make it happen, it has become a MUST. Once you have that certainty that you can make it happen, you gain Confidence to move forward and take a proactive step in your progress.

Clarity --> Certainty --> Confidence

What can you do today to move yourself closer to being accepted into that university or towards saving up more money to pay for your courses? There is always a way, it’s about living In Action, rather than in Reaction.

ACTION: Once you’ve gotten that amazing vision and certainty that it will happen and the confidence to make it happen, it’s time to take Action! Often times people fall victim to the adversities they are faced with. Have you ever heard someone say, “There are no jobs available, I might as well not even apply or look for a job.” That’s simply an excuse to have low standards. And if you are here visiting this website, then you are not a low standard kind of person! 

If you want a job, no matter how bad the economy is, you must take action. Set mini-goals to get you to that ultimate outcome. How many places will you apply to this weekend? How will you set yourself apart from the other applicants? Will you seek a mentor to help you with interviews and your resume? Will you start networking with the people you know to see what opportunities are available? These are all steps that you can take that most people won’t. If you have the clarity about what you want, you will stop at nothing to make it a reality. 

COMMITMENT: When things aren’t handed to us, but instead demand hard work, we are tested on how much we really want to achieve something. This is when you are called upon to be committed to your vision. Things may not always come easy, things may take time and there may be situations of rejection. But what sets you apart from other people who are seeking opportunities is your level of commitment. It’s about growth and movement, not stagnancy. You will continue to try, you will continue to act, you will continue to believe. If you are committed to getting into that top university, you will do what it takes to make it happen. Commitment is what sets that people with clarity apart from those with doubt. Which path do you want to be on? The one headed somewhere you want to go, or the one headed nowhere in particular?

In the end, when you have a vision, a really exciting vision, you will stop at nothing to make it happen.  Step up and Stand out! 

How will you be the shining star? How will you achieve your goals? How will you live your life with the highest standards? 


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