How often you wish for change?
While binge watching “House of Cards”, you wish you looked like Claire Underwood. Or at least could find her wardrobe in your size and on your budget…
You wish for a row house on a trendy street in the city. Or a house anywhere without a crushing mortgage that keeps your nose on the daily grindstone…
You wish for a relationship that’s as mutually supportive as the Underwoods. But without the deception and infidelity…
Clueless about the Underwoods, you just wish you could talk without fighting or yawning. Laugh together. Trust each other. Parent on the same page. Agree on where to go for vacation or dinner.
You wish. I wish. We all wish. And that’s a problem because …
Wishing won’t make it so.
The Everly Brothers “proved it” many years ago. And we’ve learned it.
When we were kids, we ‘d stare at the glistening heavens and wish upon a star. Grab a bedtime snack and go to sleep. And when we woke up, did we hit the ground running to make our wish come true?
As we got older, a fountain littered with coins became a sparkling wishing well. We’d dig in our pockets for a penny, and heave a big wish into the fountain. Did we walk away determined to make that wish come true?
All grown up, we toss fewer pennies in wishing wells. We stop wishing upon a star. But we still wish for change in ourselves and in our relationships. Do we consistently work to make our grownup wishes come true?
Probably not. We’ve got wishful thinking nailed down to a science. But nothing changes because…
We confuse wishful thinking with concrete hope.
Wishful thinking is a poor substitute for the concrete hope that leads to genuine change.
Wishful thinking leads to a daydream, and our return to an unhappy reality. Concrete hope leads to attitudes and action that produce change.
I see this lived out in my office and reflected in my own mirror. Dick and Jane have been married for 15 years. Living separate lives under the same roof. They came to counseling with lots of wishful thinking about how the other needed to change. But their hope was nebulous. Like a cloud.
To make any positive change, Dick and Jane needed to nix wishful thinking, and move beyond cloudlike hope.
From wishful thinking to concrete hope that creates change:
Dick and Jane needed a serious reality check. It was time to identify the attitudes and actions needed to change their relationship. He needed to stay holed up in the man-cave less. She needed to spend more time away from her iPad. Each needed to tune in and purposely connect with the other. And they needed to understand that…
Wishful thinking becomes concrete hope as attitudes change.
Dick and Jane began to ask, “What needs to change in me?” They drank the Kool-Aid I offered – and discovered it was life giving water. They learned what I have learned. Change begins with me.
When change begins with me (or Dick or Jane or you), an amazing path of action appears.
I am the only one who can lose my weight or build my muscle. No one else can eat or exercise for me or for you. I am the one who controls how I show up in a relationship. I control what I say and how I act. You control what you say and how you act.
Seeing what needs to change, an attitude of concrete hope keeps me (or Dick or Jane or you) moving in a positive direction. Concrete hope does not make change easier. It does something more important.
Concrete hope makes change possible.
It electrifies consistent action. Concrete hope keeps Dick and Jane reaching out for each other, especially on difficult days. It keeps me eating healthy, and making quick corrections whenever I blow it. Wishful thinking leaves Dick and Jane in separate rooms. And me chowing down on Haagen-Daz. All three of us frustrated.
Concrete hope picks us up, and dusts us off when we fail. It sets us on the right path, heads us in right direction. Concrete hope motivates us to move. Along the road called positive change.
If your Relationship With Yourself needs help, I encourage you to explore couples counseling.
And if my words resonate with you, I invite you to contact me.