Take heed when they tell you who they are the first time!
Recently a coaching client came to me complaining about her boyfriend of 11 months. This was not the first time our sessions had focused on this man, but I suspect it would be our last. She bemoaned the fact that he was a womanizer and could not keep his pants zipped up. And, how he publicly disrespected and humiliated her. In between each muffled cry, she said, “BUT, I LOVE HIM AND I KNOW he really loves me. He’s just having a hard time because he lost his job.
It’s NOT His Fault.
Last week her excuse was that he had a cold; the week before it was because his boss made him mad, the week before that, it was because he drank too much when hanging with the guys. Every week there was one more incident of bad and abusive behavior, and one more excuse—on HER part.
It’s NOT My Fault.
I’m often reminded of how often I made bad choices regarding men. I picked bad boys who were by nature, bad boys. I knew who they were when I met them, but deep down inside of me, I would think, this one will be different. THIS time will be different. I’ll change him. All he needs is a good woman who really loves him. But the outcome was always the same. And when they behaved like the bad boys they were, I was devastated and angry.
The Girl & the Snake.
It reminds me of a story I heard years ago. In pertinent part, it goes like this:
“A young girl was trudging along a mountain path, trying to reach her grandmother’s house. It was bitter cold, and the wind cut like a knife. When she was within sight of her destination, she heard a rustle at her feet. Looking down, she saw a snake. Before she could move, the snake spoke to her. He said, “I am about to die. It is too cold for me up here, and I am freezing. There is no food in these mountains, and I am starving. Please put me under your coat and take me with you.”
“No,” replied the girl. “I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite me, and your bite is poisonous.”
“No, no,” said the snake. “If you help me, you will be my best friend. I will treat you differently.”
The little girl sat down on a rock for a moment to rest and think things over.
She looked at the beautiful markings on the snake and had to admit that it was the most beautiful snake she had ever seen.
Suddenly, she said, “I believe you. I will save you. All living things deserve to be treated with kindness.” The little girl reached over, put the snake gently under her coat and proceeded toward her grandmother’s house. Within a moment, she felt a sharp pain in her side. The snake had bitten her. “How could you do this to me?” she cried. “You promised that you would not bite me, and I trusted you!”
“You knew what I was when you picked me up,” hissed the snake as he slithered away.”
It’s easy to blame someone for the choices we make. But at what point do we have the courage to make different choices and stop the blame game?
Self esteem comes from having the courage to make right choices and then take responsibility for those choices.
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