Some years back, I was doing my best to explain some relationship dynamics to someone close to me. No matter how many ways I tried to convey the information, she wasn’t getting it. I was convinced that if I could just find a better way to articulate the issue that the light would go on and she would understand. Finally, after yet another frustrating discussion, it dawned on me that the quality of my communication skills was irrelevant. I reluctantly had to accept that, for whatever reason, her take on the matter was entrenched, and even though it was counterproductive to us having a good relationship, I was powerless to do anything about it.
In an earlier post, I wrote about how my friend Melanie was forced to give up the expectation that her parents would someday be capable of the kind of relationship she longed to have with them. When she finally realized that they weren’t capable of having the kind of mature, healthy relationship with her that she so desperately wanted, she had to grieve the loss of the idealized relationship she had clung to for so long.
In our e-mail exchange, Melanie wrote:
Chogyam Trungpa said that voices of praise and blame are equivalent to barking dogs. My dog would bark his head off and come off as completely ridiculous all the time. I didn’t love him any less and I didn’t decrease my time around him. It was just something he did and I didn’t take it personally. Expectations are the reason for surprise.
I’ve expected my parents to behave a certain way and been crushed that they didn’t. Time to let go.
Well said, Melanie. The barking dogs analogy is a good one and one that also applies to dealing with irrational relatives. At some point you have to accept that you cannot change a relationship with someone who does not want to change or is incapable of change. All you can do is let go, love the person for who they are and allow the relationship to run its course. Yes, the barking may get on your nerves from time to time, but after all, it’s only barking.
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.
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• an overview of the book
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• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
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Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.
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In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?
Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
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Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.