You know what our monstrous mistake is?
We try to fix the people in our life.
Oh, I see it everywhere.
Everywhere I go, I see people complain about the people in their life.
Wives complain about their husbands.
“Bo, please talk to my husband. He eats too much.”
“Bo, can you help me? My husband watches too much TV.”
One frustrated wife told me, “Bo, please advice my husband. He doesn’t have a one romantic bone in his body. Last year, he gave me a bar of soap for Valentines Day. The brand? Mr. Clean.”
But husbands complain about their wives too.
“Bo, please talk to my wife. She’s gastadora.”
“Bo, help me with my wife. My wife is always hysterical and historical. She remembers all my past mistakes, including date, time, and place.”
One husband told me, “My wife is so talkative. If the universe paid 1 centavo for every word she said, I’ll be the richest man in the world today.”
Another man said, “My wife is always angry. When she’s angry, she causes global warming and the melting of the ice caps in the North Pole.”
Parents complain about their kids too.
“My kids are too messy.”
“My kids can’t focus on their studies.”
One mother said, “My kids are so lazy. If given a chance, they’ll ask someone to breathe for them.”
And everywhere I go, I also hear many kids ask me to fix their parents.
“My parents are too strict.”
“My parents are too corny.”
“My parents are too kuripot.”
One girl told me, “They allow me to swim only if I wear a long gown.”
All over the world, people want to fix people.
Let me tell you why…
Are You Sick Of Comparasonities?
First of all, you want to fix people because you love them.
But sometimes, our motives aren’t pure. Sometimes, we want to fix our loved ones because of shame. We’re ashamed of what other people will say about our kids, our siblings, our spouses, and our parents.
Another reason of our “fixing other people” tendencies is we’re afflicted with the disease called comparisonities.
Humans like to look to the other side of the fence to see if it’s greener.
Someone told me that marriage is like going to a restaurant. After you ordered your dish, you learn what the other table ordered, and suddenly regret what you ordered.
Believe me, this urge to compare causes so much misery in marriages.
If you always compare your wife’s body with Beyonce or Angel Locsin, she can’t compete. Or if you compare your husband’s salary with Manny Paquiao’s earnings, he can’t compete.
Many times, we compare our spouse to someone who doesn’t exist. For example, we fantasize about Hollywood stars who aren’t real. Because all their blemishes were removed by photoshop and a huge PR company.
Even the pretty officemate who seems so gorgeous on the outside may actually be your worst nightmare the moment you live with her. You really don’t fall in love with her. You fall in love with a projection of how you imagine her to be.
Even parents are guilty of this.
Motivate Your Kids In Other Ways
We have a tendency to compare our kids with other kids.
We even verbally share our comparisons in the hopes of motivating him.
I overheard one mother tell her little boy, “Junior, why can’t you get good grades like your sister? She gets straight A’s in all subjects. But you’re highest grades are Recess and Lunch.”
Parents compare their kids to their classmates, their cousins, and even to themselves when they were young. Their sermons begin with this famous line: “When I was young, I wasn’t like you…”
Kids cannot flourish in an environment where they are being judged. Kids flourish in an environment of appreciation. They need to know that their parents accept them for their uniqueness.
Parents, stop comparing!
And there’s also another disease that causes us to fix people.
The Virus of Criticalities
I’ve met people who have a strong critical spirit in them.
I pity them so much. Once afflicted, they become very miserable people.
These people think God created them to criticize others. All day long, they look for the faults of the people around them.
But behind this critical spirit towards others is really a critical spirit toward oneself. In fact, the critic pulls down others so that he can hide his own failures.
Let me now tell you what you should do.
Question: Do You Want Less Stress and More Joy?
Do you want less stress in your relationships?
Do you want less fights?
Do you want less wrinkles?
Do you want more joy?
My solution is really simple: Stop trying to fix others.
Big clarification: In my message today, I’m not talking about the big sins. Like marital abuse, alcoholism, adultery, and all the other major violations against the Ten Commandments. I’m also not talking about tolerating the sins of your kids. I’m not teaching you to say, “Wow son, you’re very good in stealing. Perhaps you can be a Congressman one day.” (I’ll talk on “tough love” on the sixth instalment of this series, Relationship Reborn.)
Today, I’m talking about idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, personalities, and persuasions that make your loved one very unique.
If you’re not going to fix people, what should you do?
I’ll now explain a mystery.
What You Like And What You Don’t Like
Maybe One And The Same Thing
I have mixed feelings about my cellphone.
My relationship with my phone is ambivalent.
I like it and I don’t like it.
There are days when I think it’s the greatest invention since peanut butter. And there are days when I want to fling it into the mouth of a volcano.
Here’s what I noticed: The very features that I like are the very same features that I don’t like. Absurd but true.
Why do I like my phone? I like the fact that I can call up the 954 people in my phone directory anytime. Useful when I have a flat tire, when I need a prayer, or when I’m on the rooftop because of Typhoon Ondoy.
Why do I not like my phone? I don’t like the fact that these 954 people can call me up at anytime—even when I’m lying on a hammock in a tiny island far out in the Pacific Ocean.
Why do I like my phone? Because I can bring it everywhere I go.
Why do I not like my phone? Because I can bring it everywhere I go!
Question: Have you ever had the absurd experience of leaving your cellphone at home and having to make a U-turn to come back for it? Nuts, right? Cellphones are now like one of our kidneys. You can still survive if it gets lost, but it’ll be risky.
I repeat: The very things that I like are the very same things that I don’t like.
Funny, but this is also true with our relationships…
Why Did You Fall In Love?
Don’t be shocked, but the very thing that made you crazy for a person will be the very same thing that will drive you crazy in the years to come.
I’m not kidding.
If you fell in love with your wife because she was bubbly and the life of the party, today, you want to zip her mouth so that there would be world peace.
If you fell in love with your husband because he was quiet, strong, and steady as a rock, today, you want to curse him for being so cold and unresponsive—like you’re talking to a rock.
If you fell in love with your wife because of her stunning beauty, today, you find yourself pulling your hair in the car, waiting for her because she takes 3 hours just to dress up and put on her make-up.
Remember: Every strength has a weakness.
My friend Jon Escoto says that “a weakness is really a strength applied inappropriately.” (As another friend loves to say, “You’re right in the wrong way!”) You can’t have only one side of the coin. You have to have both.
Why My Wife Married Me
One day, I had a very serious talk with my wife.
“Sweetheart, I want you to be completely honest with me,” I said to her. “Aside from the fact that I look like John Loyd and Piolo Pascual put together, what else made you marry me?”
After laughing out loud and rolling on the floor, she finally said, “Sorry Bo, your looks weren’t the reason why I married you. I married you because you have such a big heart for God.”
But I bet if you ask her today, “Marowe, what are the difficulties of being married to Bo?” she’ll tell you, “Because Bo has such a big heart for God!”
She will explain to you, “Our schedule isn’t normal. Our entire married life isn’t normal. Bo runs 9 non-profit organizations. He’s constantly stretched. He travels a lot.” She’s accepted that as her lot in life.
Here’s something she’s also accepted: When we have our weekly dates, she already expects it to be interrupted. Many times, a total stranger would approach me, cry on my shoulder, and ask for prayer. In the middle of the busy mall, I hold an instant mini-healing rally—because the moment people see me praying for one person, people fall in line.
She’s come to accept this reality as part of the set package called Bo Sanchez.
She’s accepted the fact that when she married me, she also married the people I love—the flock I care for.
Why am I telling you all these?
Stop Trying To Fix People
To repeat my million-dollar point: If you want to have happy relationships, you’ll have to stop trying to fix people and start appreciating them.
Jesus said, “Love your neighbor”; He didn’t say, “Fix your neighbor.”
Two reasons why you need to stop fixing people.
First, you can’t.
Second, I’ve realized that people are like old houses. If one thing gets fixed, another thing gets broken.
Let me tell you what I mean by appreciate.
Two Levels Of Acceptance
The first level of acceptance is tolerance.
The second level is appreciation.
Let me tell you a story.
Jean came up to me one day and said, “Bo, can I share something with you? My story might help women you talk to.”
Jean said that her husband is addicted to watching basketball. She told me that it drove her insane. “Brother Bo, there was a time when his passion for watching basketball made me so angry. I would nag him, I would throw pots and pans in his direction, I would hide the TV remote control—just so he can’t watch.”
She told him, “I think basketball has become your god. And the churches you attend are NBA, PBA, PBL, NCAA, and UAAP. All you talk about is basketball.” And her husband would answer back, “Foul yan.”
“But after a couple of years,” Jean said, “I just gave up. I realized that nothing was going to happen. That he will never change.”
That was the day when Jean began to tolerate her husband’s passion for basketball. Whenever she saw him sitting in front of the TV watching a game, she felt less irritation in her heart.
But one day, Jean had a bigger epiphany.
That fateful morning, Jean’s best friend called her up crying hysterically on the phone. Through many tears, she said that she discovered her husband was having an affair. After an hour of trying to comfort her, Jean’s friend said, “I wish my husband was like your husband, Jean—so faithful to you.”
That one sentence was like a slap on her face.
She woke up.
Jean realized she was blind to the great blessing that her husband was to her.
Because she was so focused on his basketball addiction, she never appreciated how faithful her husband was to her.
She also began to count the many ways he was a wonderful husband: He was hard-working, he loved the kids, he went with her to her prayer meetings, and he was sweet in his own manly, clumsy way.
Today, she sometimes joins him watching basketball.
She still doesn’t appreciate the game. She told her husband once, “Why don’t they just give one ball to each team?” But she enjoys being with her wonderful husband now.
That day, Jean moved from tolerance to appreciation.
And that was the day her marriage became very happy.
Are You A Judge Or A Painter?
What I’m sharing with you is so earth-shaking, I should be charging you a million for divulging this secret to you.
Believe me, if you apply this secret into your life, you will change your entire life—radically. You’ll have less stress. You’ll have less fights. You’ll have more peace. You’ll be more joyful. You’ll feel and look younger by ten years.
It was Dr. James Dobson who said that before you get married, you should have both eyes wide open. But after the marriage ceremony, close one eye.
What does he mean? Before you get married, you should be very careful in evaluating your future spouse. Check everything. Values. Background. Preferences. Reactions. Beliefs. Examine everything!
But when you get married, stop evaluating. Stop critiquing.
It’s now time to stop fixing the other person and start appreciating the entire person in his totality.
Remove the robes of the courtroom judge. Instead, put on the robes of a painter capturing the beauty of a scene. An artist simply accepts what is and nurtures a gratitude for what is there.
When you accept the other person and become grateful for him, a great miracle happens: The person learns to accept himself too and thus bring healing of his Heart Wound. Changes begin to take place spontaneously.
You can never fix anyone.
Because fixing is an inside job. Never forced from the outside.
Yes, you should inspire. You should guide. You should teach. But you cannot force.
At the end of the day, the only thing you can do is to love the person by creating space for the other person to fix himself.
One of the ways to show gratitude is to simply to say it.
Here’s your assignment for this session: Go to 1, 2, or 3 people in your life and thank them for the blessing that they are to you.
Be specific. Write them a letter of gratitude.
Thank your wife for the small things she does for you.
Thank your husband for going to work everyday.
Thank your mother for the way she serves you.
Thank your child for being a wonderful child.
The next time a loved one presses your clothes, or takes out the trash, or fixes the car, or takes care of the baby, appreciate them in your heart and in your words.
I promise: Gratitude will be like oil in the engine of your relationship.
Your relationship will function in a whole new level.
“I Love The Perfection Of Your Imperfections.”
Let me end with one of my favorite stories.
One day, a wife came to her husband with a magazine in her hand, “Darling, this article is wonderful. It describes a little activity that we can both do to improve our marriage. Can we do it together?”
“Sure,” her husband said.
“It says here that for one day, each of us will separately write a list of what areas we want the other to change. Little annoyances, little irritations, etc. And then tomorrow, we share this list to each other. Deal?”
“Deal!” the husband smiled.
That day, the man sat on the living room with paper and hand. The wife went to the bedroom and did the same thing.
The next day, over breakfast, the wife said, “Game? Can I start first?”
“Yes,” the husband said.
The wife pulled out three pages. Single spaced. Font 8. It was a long list. She began to read her list. “Darling, I don’t like it when you do this…” On and on, she read the little ways her husbands annoyed her.
The man felt a sting in his heart. The wife noticed this and asked, “Do you want me to continue?”
“I can handle it. Go on,” the man said.
So the wife continued to read.
Finally, the woman said, “Okay, it’s your turn.”
The husband pulled out his piece of paper and said, “Yesterday, I asked the question what are the changes I want in you. But hard as I tried to think, I couldn’t think of one thing.” He then showed to her the empty piece of paper in his hand. “Because to me, you’re perfect in your imperfections. I’ve accepted who you are—strengths and weaknesses. And I love the whole package. I love the mix. You are a wonderful person and I love you so much.”
The wife began to sob, rolled up her three pages in her hand, and beat her husband on the head, “Bwiset ka!” And hugged him tight for a very long time.
May your dreams come true,
PS. Do you need more spiritual nourishment? You can get a mountain load of it when you join our international, virtual, non-physical community called www.KerygmaFamily.com To receive this spiritual nourishment, log on at www.KerygmaFamily.com
PS2. My newest book is almost out, How To Turn Thoughts Into Things. As an author, I need to tell you that there’s something very special about this book. I know it’ll change the lives of many people. The book will be available in all the major bookstores around the Philippines very soon. (By the way, I’m giving away the Ebook version to all my TrulyRichClub and GodWhispersClub members.)
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