This is part of the series How to Lose a Guy.
This series, while using the name “How to Lose a Guy”, should really be entitled “How to Lose Anyone”. When I use the word “lose” I don’t always mean that we’ll totally never interact with a person, rather, it means that we begin to lose the depth of the relationship, getting shallower and shallower, until it is no longer meaningful. Like I say over and over in my other posts, “Relationships are not static. They are like two boats in the ocean, either sailing towards the same destination or drifting apart.”
More On Evaluation
I was surprised to see a spike in my site visits yesterday, and I have my last post to thank. I hope it was more than the title that got people to click.
I also received a few questions on the concept of evaluating relationships, and the common comment contains this:
“You can’t evaluate relationships. You can’t treat them like businesses. You shouldn’t judge people. You can’t change people.”
Let me give my short reply to this: Disagree. Agree. Agree. Agree.
So if you look at things, I actually agree more with my critics than disagree. Now let me answer in more detail.
First on the points that we agree on. People aren’t businesses, I completely agree for obvious reasons. You can’t judge people, I agree, BUT evaluating doesn’t mean condemning people like a judge pronounces “guilty” or “not guilty” but simply looking for the value that one can give and find. I also believe that we can’t change people forcibly, but we can influence people through how we live our lives. If we treat the people we claim to love with indifference and take them for granted, the effect on them will change them as they realize what the value really is. We can either live lives that bless or poison the people around us. We can all think of friends who are blessings and we can think of friends who are poisonous. The blessings have impacted us for the better. The poisonous have made us worse. So to say that we can’t change people is not completely true.
You can’t evaluate relationships.
Yes, we can. And we should. Evaluating a relationship means looking for the value of a relationship, and like with everything else in life, we find what we seek for. So people who evaluate their relationships properly actually will find things of worth in the relationship – unless the relationship is so selfishly one-sided, and in cases like that, I suggest reading the book Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.
The other point here is, we’re all, consciously or unconsciously evaluating things. The problem with many people is that while they’re too cowardly to evaluate the present, they’re stuck evaluating the past and paralyzed evaluating the future.
What do I mean by this?
Evaluating the past is always looking back at your history and wondering where things went wrong, asking what if, and spending time on the people and events that no longer should have any bearing on the present. Let me give you an example, so you had a girlfriend who cheated on you, and you’ve moved on, you tell all your friends she was a b!tch and a liar to look all secure, but the fact that you’re still bringing her up so often, checking her tweets, her FB, googling her, wondering if her new boyfriend is handsomer than you, smarter than you, more impressive than you, shows that you’re still evaluating the past. If she was so bad, then why be so interested? Move on. Or, if after evaluating the present, you realize you love her, then spend your time and energy on her.
Instead of the past, evaluate the present, the here and now. Stop asking yourself “Where did I go wrong in the past?” and start asking yourself “What can I do today to be a person of value to the people I claim I love.” I always put the phrase “people I claim to love” because I want to be clear that while it is difficult to truly love everyone, we need to at least put in the the necessary effort to the people we profess love to. If you don’t act, you don’t love. (Actually giving a talk on that tomorrow.)
Why? Again, you’ll find what you’re seeking. Seek the past? You’ll get the past. Over and over again, you’ll relive it. If you seek the value of the present, you’ll cultivate today.
While I’m all for having a dream and a vision, being stuck evaluating the future means being stuck in dream and wish mode. We collect pegs for everything we want. Home pegs, body pegs, boyfriend pegs, girlfriend pegs, pegs for our clothes and for our future kids’ clothes, car pegs, pegs, pegs, pegs. We spend too much time evaluating the lives of others we admire and dreaming up our future without realizing we’ve spent more time our dream future than the responsibilities of today.
I remember one instance for me, I was on Pinterest putting together some ideas for “Home” board since I hope to renovate next year, then I realised to myself, “Go work first. That’s enough fantasizing. Go do the necessary actions to actually be able to make the renovation a reality”. So I closed the window and went to work. An architects job doesn’t stop with the blueprint.
A simple test is this: how much time do you spend looking at other people’s lives through twitter, instagram, facebook, google, pinterest, or whatever paparazzi tool is your favourite? And how much time do you spend on building your life and the lives of people you claim to love?
Again, I said “the people you claim to love”, and I also said “building” not dreaming or wishing or conceptualising, but BUILDING, doing, making, digging, cementing, strengthening, adding, fixing, cleaning, laying, beautifying. BUILDING. “I have to do all of that?” No, you don’t. But that just shows for that specific person or thing, you don’t really love.
Again, we will find what we seek for. So there’s no wondering when the past keeps creeping up and the future keeps looking so impossible. It’s because we didn’t seek the value of today. We loved the past and the future, yet forgot today.
I was talking to my friend last week. He was being accused by his former employers of all sorts of things – with no proof. I told him to move on and forget it. He said, “That’s it?” I said, “Yes, go put your time and energy on the things that really matter. If you focus on them, you’ll miss the gifts of today. The past can’t be changed. Instead ask yourself how to make today more beautiful.”
Love the miracles of God today. Today redeems the past and lays the foundation for tomorrow.