The DNA of Relationships
Last week’s blog about Brian’s weight loss journey was a story of strength, courage and bravery and what that entailed was a basic human event that all of us will face at one time or another and that is: facing your fears.
None of us wants to face our fears, in reality we would rather do an immediate about face run to the nearest exit and take off. We would rather wrestle a cobra than face our fears (unless of course snakes are your fear).
It is also a well documented fact that people will NOT change or embrace change or seek change unless their PAIN gets too much to bear.
Brian had reached a point where his pain (whether emotional or physical) had superseded his ability to live at that level. No one could have told him, shamed him, or coerced him into making those changes; just like no one can tell us, you and me, shame us or coerce us into making the changes that they see we need to make in our lives either.
We all, individually, come to that point where our pain level exceeds the comfort level and then are forced into some kind of change. Before we decide to change we try all kinds of self help remedies: eat our feelings, shop our feelings, drink our feelings, run the other direction, don’t talk about it, talk too much about it, ignore it and hope it goes away.
Eventually change will come: it can be a good change or a bad change, but change will be inevitable. For Brian, his health was the inevitable catalyst to change.
I am reading an amazing book on relationships called “the DNA of Relationships” ©2004, 2007 Tyndale Press, written by Dr, Gary Smalley.
The book outlines why we stay “stuck” in situations longing for an end but usually doing the same thing over and over again not getting anywhere. It feels defeating, senseless and we end up feeling like a victim to our circumstances and often to other people.
I want to highlight a snippet from the book and I would encourage everyone to get a copy of the book if they want revolutionary change in their relationships at home, at school, at work or anywhere there are people.
The snippet is called the DNA Code – which goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. (Wouldn’t you hate to be those 2? They get blamed for everything!)
You are made for relationships.
You are made with the capacity to choose.
You were made to take responsibility for yourself
You are made for relationships: relationships are not optional; we were made to have relationships. Though we can choose how we will participate in relationships, we have no choice about whether we will participate in them. Our only real choice is whether we will work to make our relationships healthy; or whether we will do things to hinder them. This holds true for relationships with God and people.
2. You are made with the capacity to choose: we can not always choose our relationship (like choosing our parents or brothers or sisters) but we can choose how we will act in those relationships. Saying that we have no choice when we feel trapped or belittled or abused is an absolute lie (Dr. Smalley's words not mine).
The truth is, we do have a choice and lots of them and choice equals change (which can be scary). You can choose to stay stuck in a situation or relationship or face your fear and choose to work through the problems. It will require change and again, change is not easy or comfortable. Even the decision to “not chose” is a decision – by not choosing, you have picked to stay where you are.
Will you choose to hold onto your resentments or find freedom? Will you choose to take revenge and hurt the other person or look beyond the hurt to the deeper problem – possibly one in yourself? You see….
More often than not, what looks like or feels like the problem is in reality – not. The problem is usually buried further back in your life and past events. Dr. Smalley puts it this way: the external problem is rarely the problem. The core problem is our fear and we each wrestle with a core fear. Learn what yours is. This book will help you figure it out.
The book gives many great examples of what this could look like in a relationship. Addictions, adultery, pornography, abuse all point to a core fear problem.
In our case, the weight was not the true problem, learning what fear Brian had been running from was. Brian chose to take a step out in faith and better his life, fear or not. Was it scary? Absolutely.
3. You were made to take responsibility for yourself: Adam and Eve pointed to each other in the blame game back in the garden of Eden. We do it all the time thinking if only that other person would change, then I would finally be happy, free or the pain would stop. The other person is not the solution to the problem. Your happiness, is not dependent on other people. The other person is not the solution to the problem (yes I just repeated that).
You and you only control your reactions, your choices and thought patterns on how other people treat you. When you believe that others can control your happiness or lack of it, you, again you, have given over your power to them. You are stuck. Great news – there are choices. Sound familiar? Read # 2 again.
I hope I have tweaked your interest in finding some help and answers to some of our relationship and situational dilemas, we all have them. Those people that pushed our buttons, stepped on our toes or plain got in our way, they shoved, belittled and hurt us. We feel stuck and we need, no, we beg to know what to do….
As page 53 of the book says – “you can be the CEO of your life”.