Tuesday, May 13, 2014

6/40 in 40: You Can't Push The River


6th in a series of 40 posts about what I've learned in these 40 years

You can't make people love you.

You can't make them talk to you, even.

You can't make them agree with you or do what you want.

You really can't.

There can be an illusion of this--especially once I became a parent--but it is just an illusion.

Strike that. You can use threats and blackmail to push people into doing what you want. And I did that (not actual blackmail, but definitely emotional blackmail) when I was younger and not as good at being a person as I started to be as time went on. But you can't do these things with people and maintain friendships and marriages and relationships.

You try and you drown. You drown because you lose so much energy trying to push that you forget how to live your own life. You start running other people around and there's nothing left for you. In the end my realization that you can't push the river didn't come from a love for other people being themselves (that is later in this series) but from a love of the person I am. I can't be who I am and manage other people to that detail. Hobbies slip away, and then healthy relationships and rituals and things you need to get done like doctors' appointments and returning library books. Your life turns into Tim's drama with his wife or Tracy's drama with her child or Aly's drama with her affair and you forget how to talk to your husband.

And it sucks.

And then you realize you don't even really like Tim or Tracy or Aly that much.

So stop pushing the river, damn it. It will flow on its own. Those people have to live their lives. Live yours.

1 comment:

Mali said...

Oh, I love this one.