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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Work Out Your Fallible "IT"




"It just didn't work out." If you are like me, you hear this conclusion all of the time. No matter what the antecedent of "it" in the statement, the outcome is seemingly fated to termination. Yet, in truth, when you hear this simple explanation, the blame for the consequences must be ascribed to human culpability.

Denying accountability makes "didn't work out" acceptance comparable to full-fledged lying. Usually, "it" didn't "work out" because one or more of the parties involved did not expend reasonable time and effort required to complete the essential labor needed to fortify "its" existence.

Oh, I am guilty of using this quick brush-off. Surely you have used this denial, too. But today, I would ask you if you ever considered "it didn't work out" because of your own weaknesses? It’s so tempting, when something goes wrong, to decide that someone, anyone, anything, but you, is responsible for the failure. Granted, this indictment is human nature; however, it often displays an ugly side of selfish repudiation. We may be dealt a bad hand, yet we are responsible for manner in which we play the fated cards.

You do understand you have inborn desires to love companions and to vanquish opponents, right? As things go wrong and a loved one causes you pain, you quickly switch to the "overpowering mode" to defend yourself from further attack. In disbelief, you start to question how someone you care so much for could be so unkind as to hurt your feelings and to betray your trust. Stop and consider that errors and even dumb mistakes are part of any solid relationship: no love is a primrose path without thorns.

In addition, love is also very proud. Often confrontations escalate after simple, unintentional offenses and "it" seems to scamper to the slippery precipice of Final Decisions where plunging or working back toward solid ground become the only options. Many times, opponents find the work to fix the problems with "it" too difficult, and they view the relationship as irreconcilable. So, the loved ones simply to decide to end "it" and believe they had no choice.

When you put the focus on the solution instead of the ego, you force yourself to work together with others to solve problems, and, this, in turn, rebuilds positive bonds. If you want to be honest about your own obligations, when you took a vow like this with a mate, you negated a whole lot of alternatives:

"I _____, take you ______, to be my wedded wife/husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness."

Yet, I would be a hypocrite to deny the fact that I took the same vows and three years later, I got a divorce. You see, I used to say, "It just didn't work out." I gave that dumb explanation to many others who inquired why my marriage had failed; then, as time passed to give me more perspective, I had to admit there were bad things I did in the marriage that helped cause its demise. I realized only by accepting my fault could I move ahead with greater insight.

Now, I find myself understanding that damn near anything can be worked out. The compromise may require huge changes and great acceptance on behalf of the parties involved; however, this intense, mutual labor can actually strengthen a union. The changed product may resemble a dependable used car more than a shiny, new vehicle straight off the showroom floor, and, guess what? With proper care and maintenance that old ride might last until the aforementioned "'till death do us part."

One thing is for sure: if you use the "it just didn't work out" justification time and time again, people soon discover you are deceptive and very unreliable. The willingness to accept responsibility for your life can be an important prerequisite toward making constructive change. Everyone understands that you shouldn’t berate yourself or others for shortcomings. That being said, people aren’t “assholes” or “shits” even when they do shitty things. They most often are simply pitifully weak, unloved human beings.

The most sensitive lovers make mistakes. They learn that mistakes don't necessarily have to end relationships. You must be willing to learn from your mistakes as well as to learn from the mistakes of others. Blame is like anger in that it dulls the sense of empathy. It allows you to act in a hurtful way to another human being.

Blame isn't the act itself, but it often clears the road. It either erodes or outright removes (often both) the inhibitions that serve as buffers against what you know is bad behavior. It develops a thought pattern that allows your emotions to override your self-control in order to achieve an often selfish end -- including sustaining dysfunctional patterns.



I Know I Am Often Wrong

God knows I make far too many mistakes. And He knows I use blame far too much. Often, I try to make amends for these mistakes. And, sometimes, I know that my share of the blame has greatly aggrieved others to the point of no return. So, there are times that "I," not "it" doesn't "work out."

After these self-initiated snafus, I must accept my fallibility in a twisted and rocky route toward self-improvement and not chalk them up to the "mysterious dealings of the fates." I must try to make things better, but I also must rest content that (1) I am imperfect; (2) I am blameworthy; and (3) I should work diligently to be a better person; but (4) I will live in an imperfect world until I draw my last breath.

I will try to embrace this sphere of imperfection and all the fallible beings in it. Working together as conscientious human beings, all of us with impediments and faults, may change some of the instances in which "it just didn't work out."

"Blame is just a lazy person's way of making sense of chaos." 

--Douglas Coupland, Canadian novelist


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