Rule 5: Confused People Think With Their Buts
Confused people make excuses.
The Phoenix Perspective:
excuses are ways to delay fixing the problem.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, making changes in the way you interact is not the easiest thing in the world to do. We must fight against our tendency to think that change should be easy to accomplish and quick to happen. Unfortunately, when the process doesn’t happen quickly, many people start making excuses.
“I want to do things differently, but my parents were weird.” “I would make changes, but my wife won’t cooperate.” “I really need to do things differently, but I don’t have the time.” A “but” is a roadblock on the road to change. Sort of like the person expects an exemption. “It’s not my fault,” and then a sigh. Excuses are substitutes for the hard work of change.
In truth, change is hard work.
Now, it is possible for anyone to create a much more interesting world for themselves, but only by being responsible for actually creating it. One thing is certain – the world you have is the world you are stuck with if all you do is come up with reasons why change can’t happen. Every person has the potential to be whole. The only requirement is responsibility.
Responsibility is a misunderstood word. Most people use it to mean “who is to blame.” Actually, to be responsible means, in its simplest form, to be “able to respond.” A response is a carefully measured and thought through action meant to get the result you seek. For example, a couple in therapy might indicate that they wish to deepen their relationship. Then, the next time they have a conversation, they start into a fight. They can slip into old behaviour and have at it, or one or both can remember the intention to go deeper into the relationship. They make a responsible choice not to fight.
Most people, sadly, simply react. They repeat behaviours that got them into deep trouble in the past. They end up deeper in trouble and never make the connection that the pain they are feeling is a direct result of the choices they have made.
You have to decide what’s important for you. Without excuses. Without bitterness. Without complaining when the going gets rough. And the going will get rough.
The wise person, confronting a difficult situation says, “What did I miss in order for me to be in this situation? Where do I want to go from here? How will I get there?” The fool says, “I want to be different, but I can’t.”
Your fifth exercise: What are the “buts” that keep you stuck? List them.