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Rules of Life’s Road

Rule 1: Choose to accept what you cannot change by changing how you think about it.

  1. To accept does not mean to stop caring, but to cease trying to change someone else.
  2. To accept is not to cut yourself off, but the realization that different is not bad.
  3. To accept is not attempts to control, but the acceptance that the outcome is not in your hands.
  4. To accept is not to blame others, but to make the most of yourself.
  5. To accept is not to take care of, but to care about.
  6. To accept is not to fix and make right, but to be present and supportive.
  7. To accept is not to judge, but to allow another to be an imperfect being.
  8. To accept is not arranging the outcomes, but to allow others to create their own future.
  9. To accept is not to abandon, but to allow another to face reality.
  10. To accept is not to deny, but rather not to intervene.
  11. To accept is not to rationalize and explain, but to admit and correct your shortcomings.
  12. To accept is not to worry about the future, but to take each day as it comes and cherish yourself in it.
  13. To accept is not to criticize others, but to be the person you are meant to be.
  14. To accept is to fear less and to love more.

Rule 2: Forgiveness is choosing not to remember the wrong or hurt against your mate.

Forgiveness is a contract made with yourself not to charge the offender with the offence from that point forward. Second, forgiveness is a commitment made to yourself to live in the relationship with the offender from that point forward just-as-if-they had never done the offence against you. Third, when you think of the offence, forgiveness reminds you that the offender is not guilty anymore and the thought is put out of your mind. Fourth, forgiveness is not something that you feel or necessarily want to give. It is a commitment which you carry out faithfully regardless of how you feel or what you want.

Rule 3: No one is more invested in your success and happiness than your mate. Your mate is not your enemy.

Every living thing is in conflict. The soil attacks a fallen seed to bring about decomposition. The seed struggles to use the same soil to germinate and produce a plant like the one which spread the seed. If the seed wins the conflict, it will sprout and push its way through the soil and into the sunlight. The very sun it seeks will burn the life out of the plant if it does not receive enough water. On the seedling struggles, fighting off disease and all other elements to reach maturity and spread its seed so that the cycle may begin again. The conflict is necessary to test the strong to make them stronger. Only the strong overcome the conflict and live to spread its seed.

Relationship conflict is likewise necessary if the couple is going to develop a bond strong enough to overcome the elements of life which would destroy it. Couple conflict reveals changes each must make in order to transform their thinking from “I,” “me” and “my” to “we,” “us” and “our.” This is difficult because we naturally think in the singular and assume that others should view life as we experience it. These clashes force the couple to learn to resolve their conflicts or the relationship will be destroyed. The foundation for the resolve of conflict is to remember that out of all the people in the world they could be with, they chose each other. No one is more invested in their success and happiness than their mate.

Rule 4: Life is more than the ways you see and experience it. You look out on life through the lens of your life experience which is slightly distorted.

Perspective is how we see ourselves in relation to the people and circumstances that surround us. A perspective gives a three-dimensional view of two dimensional objects, scenes, or circumstances. Perspective brings other relevant issues into relationship with the present situation in order to give us a wider frame of reference.

If all we are able to see in a conflict is our own issues and needs, we have a two dimensional point of view. But if we are willing first to seek to understand what the other person needs and wants, this understanding will provide the three dimensional point of view which will make resolve of the conflict possible. The people in our life have a reasonable basis for their perspective on the issues in their life. We often reason differently about the same issue but that does not make one person wrong. In order to resolve differences, understanding the reasonableness of the other person’s perspective must be gained. This mutual understanding provides a basis for resolving conflicts.

Rule 5: Conflict is resolved, not from arguing facts, but from seeking to understand each other’s point of view.

Each of us looks out upon the world through the lens of our experience, knowledge and perspective. What we see and understand is our reality. It isn’t until each is willing to go to the other person’s point of view, that understanding is gained. At the point that we gain understanding, we are able to empathize with the other person’s experience. It is then that we can say with sincerity, I now understand your point of view. Understanding the other person’s point of view does not cancel out our point of view. It simply gives our point of view greater perspective and our insight greater understanding and empathy. When understanding and empathy are brought into the conflict, the potential for resolve is increased.

Rarely do facts matter when a relationship is in conflict. What always matters is how each person in the relationship is experiencing the conflict. We tend to fight about facts, but the real issues are our feelings and needs. Facts distract us from the feelings that make the conflict heated. The more we argue about facts, the further away from the issue we are drawn. At the point that we begin to listen to the other person’s feelings, we will begin to understand their needs. Conflicts are rarely over facts. Conflicts arise when our needs are not met and our feelings are hurt.

Copyright 2011 – Dr. Orville E. Easterly All Rights Reserved – Do not copy.

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