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147 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?
Three things for you to think about
Haters occur in proportion to admiration. Doing anything notable will generate both positive and negative reactions of similar intensity.
It’s impossible to be a life-changing presence to some people without simultaneously being a complete joke to others.
The best response to hate is to simply improve yourself so much that the hater’s criticisms become self-evidently false and empty. The best revenge is to be so undeniably good that there’s no need to ever respond.
Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.
Two things for you to ask yourself
How many things are you doing in your life right now to get back at somebody or prove them wrong? What would happen if you stopped?
Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.
One thing for you to try this week
Let go of the desire for revenge, validation, or vindication. Try focusing on your goals simply for the sake of your goals. See what that feels like and let me know.
Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.
Last week’s breakthroughs
In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to stop trying to fix a problem you have and see if it resolves itself. Turns out, for many of you, the problem you’re trying to leave alone is a person.
Eman’s no longer trying to change her husband:
I got this email on the same day I picked a fight with my husband. I was telling him that we need to work more on our relationship. He got angry. It wasn’t the right time, to be honest. But also, there is never a good time for him. He told me I kept criticizing him and asking him to change.
It’s true. I do believe there is a lot that needs to change about him for two reasons: first, for him to be healthier and happier, and second, for me to find him more attractive and find love again in our relationship. The thing is, the more I fight about it or even ask nicely for it, the more I get disappointed because he does nothing that I ask for.
Perhaps your email is a sign for me to stop wanting or expecting him to change. It’s a sign that I should stop trying to fix our relationship and my love for him. I’ll give it time. I’ll see if it will get ‘fixed’ on its own.
Classic situation. Unfortunately, as I have said many times, you can’t make someone change. And in many cases, trying to change them makes the situation worse, not better.
Evie, who says she’s still learning and growing at 68, realized fixing her friend isn’t the answer:
I had a big row with a friend a week ago. We were both on the edge of saying something that couldn’t ever be unsaid.
During the ‘conversation’ through Messenger—never a good method, I asked what, specifically, she was basing her assessment of me on. The next day, the answer dawned on me. She had insufficient information and was misunderstanding the situation. But I could see how she’d got there.
Since then I’ve been composing this essay in my head with the full story which explains why She Is Wrong.
I was going to fix this, but now I’m not.
During my essay writing, it became clear that she is not the person to go to when I’m struggling with something and need to talk it through. And that fixes it. I don’t need to fix her perception of me.
Perhaps even more difficult than letting marriages and friendships sort themselves out, our next reader is going to try this with their entire family:
I lost my mom and my grandmother the same month two years ago and these circumstances brought my siblings, my aunts, cousins, and myself closer.
The first year after our mother passed, the extended family was very present for us, calling, visiting, caring a lot. Now everyone has gone back to their lives and conflicts have emerged about topics going from organizing Christmas to legal inheritance paperwork.
It breaks my heart to see the remainder of my small family filled with negative feelings about each other, and battling about small things, as I came to value much more the relationships I have with my family after these events. I have meddled, spoken with one person then the other, trying to fix things but I feel I make it worse by making the problems look bigger than they are by bringing people’s attention to them.
I will stop intervening and see where it all ends, after all we are all adults responsible for our own attitudes and decisions.
As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.
Until next week,