feet together to form a circle

Guest Blog: Taking the First New Step


Blogger Biography: Krystel and her husband have been married four years and have three small children together. They are living in England and enjoying their new community. Krystel is a student and she volunteers at the airman and family readiness center on base in addition to teaching Sunday school.

Being married to the military means having to negotiate and renegotiate relationships on a regular basis. When you move, your time zone may change, and finding a good time to call old friends and family becomes more of a challenge. It may be that you and your spouse have different responsibilities and work hours and now need to find a different way to relate. Certainly, you will meet people in your local community and will begin to build completely new relationships.

It can be frustrating for so much to change at once and it is normal to want more control. We tend to slip into thinking that somebody “should know better” or “could try a little harder.” We understand our own perspective so well, it is easy to lose sight of the other person’s point of view. Whether or not we understand them, we feel like the people who are annoying us are doing something wrong — either in failing to reach out, pestering us incessantly, being completely incompetent or even in being a bully.

We might be right. Bullies do exist. People don’t always do their jobs as they should. Sometimes people (even the people who love us) try to control us. Sometimes people leave us feeling very alone. We can’t make other people change. We can’t change the way they think, or the way they feel, or the way they approach us or anybody else.

The only person I can control is myself. If I have developed an unhealthy pattern of relating to people, when I change how I react to them, they find themselves having to change how they react to me.

Think for a moment about a person you are in a relationship with. Imagine that your relationship with this person can be represented by a dance. You cannot move the other person’s feet for him or her. If you move your feet in a different direction, however, this person will need to adjust the way he or she moves. You may both feel out of step for a beat or two, but when you recover, you will find that you have changed your dance.

The next time a person treats you with disrespect, disarm this person with your composure. Take control of the only variable you can control — yourself — and set a different tone for your relationship. Take the first new step.

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