UNDERSTANDING OTHERS (part 1)
So, lately your boyfriend/girlfriend has been a nuisance. You feel like no matter what you do (or what you don’t do) you can’t get anything right and the last time you enjoyed each other’s company seems like a long time ago.
You’ve probably heard the expression, ‘You can’t change others, you can only change yourself.’ This is absolutely true. You can hope to change a person as much as you can hope to turn water into wine.
But then, if you can’t change the other person’s erratic behavior, what are you supposed to do? Endure it?
It’s not about endurance, it’s about understanding.
By answering a few questions it is possible to understand and therefore handle better whom ever it is that’s been making your life impossible lately.
These questions apply virtually to anyone around you,be it your partner, a family member, a friend or a workmate.
(Try to find out the answer by yourself first, and if it is not possible use a lot of tact and respect when asking the other person. In some cases, it may not be possible to ask the person directly due to the delicate nature of the question.)
1.Is the person under stress?
Mood fluctuations can be a sign of stress. Some people won’t acknowledge easily that they have stress (some may even try to convince you and themselves of the opposite!). If this is the case try to look for other signs of stress such as loss of appetite, overeating, drinking alcohol or caffeine more than usual, headaches, constipation, etc.
2.Has he/she changed legal status?
For example, through marriage or divorce.
3.Is he/she ill?
It can be anything from a cold to a life threatening disease.
4.Is he/she under financial pressure?
From loans and mortgages to credit cards or any other kind of debt.
5.Is he/she working so much that perhaps there is little or no time to relax?
Having time to pursue hobbies or do just nothing is just as important as getting plenty of sleep. See if the person is missing on any of these.
6.Has he/she been forced to quit something due to financial reasons, health reasons or any other reasons?
For example a fitness club they can’t afford anymore, or smoking, or any kind of drugs.
7.Has he/she moved to a different location?
It can be anything from moving to a new apartment in the same city to moving to a whole new country.
8.Has he/she changed jobs?
For example, starting a new job or being promoted within the same company.
9.Is he/she having difficulties with another person?
For example having a misunderstanding or a fight with a coworker, a family member or a friend.
10.Is his/her environment polluted?
This one is often overlooked but it’s important to consider, for example, working in a noisy environment can affect a person’s mood. Also if the place where they sleep is noisy or too hot, or too cold this can affect the quality of their sleep and in turn affect their mood during the rest of the day. If the person doesn’t feel comfortable at home this will be reflected in their behavior.
Additional questions in the case of women:
11.In which part of her cycle is she?
Of course unless the woman in question is very close to you, this one will be rather difficult to answer. However it is of infinite importance as hormones can have a tremendous impact in the way a person behaves (trust me, I’m a woman, I know what I’m telling you).
12.Has she recently gotten pregnant, given birth, had an abortion or entered menopause?
As mentioned above, this is hormone-related. Remember to be tactful when addressing these matters, don’t go to your girlfriend and ask: “Are you being hormonal today?”
Once you know the background you’ll be able to understand the situation better.
Now it’s time for the next step: do something.
Think of different ways in which you can help. If your partner is experiencing stress at work you may want to take it easy on him/her and don’t make a big deal out of it if he/she forgets to take out the garbage or unload the dishwasher. Even in situations where it may seem like there is little you can do to help, at least offering your support will make a great difference to the other person.
Next time your girlfriend/boyfriend becomes annoying for no apparent reason, don’t just roll your eyes, instead ask yourself why this is happening and take action.