Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Just Toothpaste - Bottle-Necking My Relationships

How many of our "strengths" could also be viewed as "weaknesses"?  Are there beliefs or ideals in our lives that we wear like badges of honor, that should probably be treated as scarlet letters?

I'm stubborn - to say the least.  In business, that can (sometimes) be very beneficial.  It helps me to hold onto my strongest pursuits, in spite of any difficulties or challenges.  It keeps me steadfast at times where it's crucial that I not give up.

However, the same traits that are (in my opinion) helping me grow professionally, can really screw things up personally.  Glen Beaman once said, "Stubbornness does have its helpful features.  You always know what you're going to be thinking tomorrow." - That's not good, by the way.

Let's say you possess a strong work ethic, for example.  This positive habit has served you well in the work place.  But the higher you advance in your career, the larger the toll it takes on your relationship with your family, and maybe even your health.  The same things that bring you up in one area, can bring you down in another.

I'm finding that being stubborn can really stunt the growth of a relationship.  I'm quick to argue - sometimes over meaningless things - just to prove a point.  Add to that the fact that I'm a Leo, and what you get is someone who is up for a fight, and rarely willing to back down.  Add another Leo into the mix, and you get a relationship that sometimes feels like its strapped to a case of C-4, with each of us holding a match saying, "You think I wont???"

The best way I can describe my personality is with the classic Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry clip, where he says, "Go ahead, make my day."

I've literally just finished Googling "how to stop being a stubborn boyfriend" - which yielded 4,360,000 results - none of which were helpful.  The first step towards change is admitting you have a problem.  Listen, I have a problem, and I'm as aware of it as the people it effects.  But what to do??

The easy answer is to start backing down, be more humble, less aggressive and take a back seat approach.  They say men don't change, and that women shouldn't expect them to.  I couldn't agree less with such an age old adage.  I believe the right people, in the right situation, will willingly change, for the BETTER, for one another.  One of my favorite sayings is, "You take care of you for me, and I'll take care of me for you."

This is my attempt to "Take care of me".  Apologizing would be so easy, if I just didn't have to say "I'm sorry".  Arguing would seem so much less appealing, if I didn't feel like I needed to "win" at everything.  Making a meaningless point wouldn't be important, if I didn't care about the score.

Obviously I have a lot to think about, and even more to learn.  But how many of us have held onto traits that really only hold us back?  Sure it effects us individually, but it also has a significant impact on those closest to us.  I'm learning, albeit slowly and painfully, that I need to stop competing, and start completing.  Squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, in the grand scheme of things, isn't a big deal, right?  And I'm learning to not care about the score, and just enjoy how lucky I am to be playing the game with someone who makes me better.  I'd rather concede and be the happiest man and father alive, than be conceited and alone.

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