In 'The Man of Le Mancha' Don Quixote sings 'To Dream The Impossible Dream', a song about following a hopeless quest, yet doing it not because he can achieve it (he can't) but because the fight itself is honorable. Pop star Miley Cyrus sings 'It's The Climb' with a virtually identical message. Self help authors and fitness gurus talk about always wanting to better themselves and never getting complacent.
Yet in relationships, I think this is doing us much more harm than good. Women in particular are likely to 'want to change' their partners. Make them better people, correct annoying habits and teach them how to be better spouses - typically with little effect!
We end up never being satisfied, never feeling fulfilled, and we spend our lives unhappy. 'Life would be so much better if only...'
If only he would talk to me
If only she listened to me
If only he made more money
If only he lost some weight
If only she wanted to spend more time with me
If only he didn't want to spend so much time at work (related to number 3!)
If only she didn't want to spend so much time with his friends
If only. Two small words that can kill a relationship! If you really want to have a happy relationship, stop nagging your spouse. How would you feel if your husband was always nagging you about your weight? About the cleanliness of the house? About how you disciplined the kids? About how much money YOU made last year?
If your spouse said to you what you say to them, how would your words make you feel? Before you say unkind, harsh words to your spouse, children, parents or co-workers ask yourself; if someone said this to me how would I react? Would it motivate me to strive to change, or would it just make me mad and want to NOT change the behavior just to return some of the hurtful feelings just unleashed on them?
Once you've stopped the cycle just RELAX. Enjoy the little things. Enjoy the comfortable silence you can have when you just learn to be still and happy with what you have. There is nothing wrong with striving to improve! But don't make the climb so miserable that you don't take time to enjoy your accomplishments. Don't climb a mountain, reach the top and then say "Whew! That was a BITCH! Ok, who wants to lead on the way down?" Take time to enjoy the vistas, catch your breath and just revel in your accomplishments. Crack open a beer and ENJOY! You'll be glad you did...