Chapter Three

"I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately."

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Fall into the same "hole" often enough and you might  wake up.




Ask yourself, "What did I do to get here."





The game of "Let's fix you" does not work.




The "good news" is that you are responsible.








Change yourself.


Chapter Three challenges us to wake up. Fall into the same hole often enough and you may come to a realization. With the frequent occurrence of the same or similar events you sense that these things do not happen by chance. Maybe this repetition is a pattern that is not just inflicted on you solely by others. Such a reoccurrence of events must mean that you are playing a role in creating them.

As we go along the sidewalk of life we all fall into holes of psychological and spiritual distress. Sometimes it seems that we were shoved. Initially, it appears that it is not our fault to be in such a situation once again. However, as we continue in the journey of life we often find ourselves falling into the same hole more than once. When we do so we are given the opportunity of recognizing that there is actually a pattern in our lives. Patterns do not exist until an event happens more than once. A pattern cannot be recognized until we have encountered a situation (in all its various forms) several times. Only with repetition is it possible to see the pattern or cycle. Once the pattern is seen then the possibility of new insight arises.

The next time you find yourself once again in one of life’s familiar holes, and are busy saying:

  • "It is not my fault,"
  • "Don't blame me."
  • "Who is responsible for this?"
  • "They are doing it to me again."

Call for a time-out. Now, look to see how you might be responsible for your situation. Ask yourself, "What did I do to get here? What role did I play in creating the circumstances that placed me in this hole?" The terrible truth is that if you are not responsible for being in this hole once again then you are in real trouble. This is because if you are not responsible, it must mean that someone is. Maybe, it is not just one person but a group of people like your coworkers or your family. It is even possible that the entire world has decided to conspire against you. If you are truly not responsible for your current situation, and you do not like being in these recurring holes then you face a dilemma. What you have to do is find out who is making you miserable. Next, you have to change that person, or group, or the entire world to make it or them be exactly the way you want them to be so that you can be okay. Your strategy becomes to change others.

This is the trap of playing, "Let's fix you." Husbands and wives and parents and children often play this game. One spouse shows up at the counselor's office claiming that their mate is the problem. Parents bring in the child saying the child's behavior needs to change. Children say that their parents make them act this way. Employees blame the insensitive boss. The overworked boss criticizes the inefficient employees. No one is responsible for anything.

Playing "Let’s fix you" doesn’t work. Have you ever tried to change someone? Of course you have. Maybe just change a small child making them just a little more the way you want. Perhaps you have tried to make a few minor adjustments in another person’s personality. It seems that if you just gave this person a little bit of a "tune up" then you might be able to live with them. Did you succeed? The answer is, "No!" Changing others is an extremely difficult if not impossible task. The other person may actually try to cooperate but often cannot make or sustain the change. Your effort is directed in the wrong direction.

Fall into the same hole enough times and you might awaken to the true nature of the problem. You are responsible for being there. You played some role in the process. You must change. Learning this is good news. If you can find out what you are doing and stop then you can avoid these holes into which you keep falling. Having some responsibility for your problems means that you have control. All you have to do is to change yourself and the situation can improve. While this task is very hard, it is at least possible. Changing others is not.

  • When you find yourself once again in that same bad relationship, but with a different person, you need to realize that it is you who is making the same mistake over and over. Maybe it is time to ask yourself, "What am I doing?" "How did I get here once again?"
  • When you are in that same tired old argument, ask what did you do to get there? When you wake up with a hangover once again, ask what went wrong with my resolve to never drink again?

When you discover what you are doing, or why you are doing it, then change is possible. You can begin taking responsibility for yourself.

If you change yourself your experience of the situation will change. Surprisingly, if you do this, the other people you were wanting to change may change as well. You cannot change others by directly trying to influence them, but if you change yourself then they may be forced to change as well. Once you are different and can maintain that difference then others around you are given the opportunity to change in relation to you. By effectively changing ourselves we may actually change another person, a group, and perhaps, the world. But we must start with ourselves. When you start with yourself a good place to begin is with your "Attitude."

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