Why Do I Have to Change? I’m Not the Problem.

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Humility does not come easy for most of us. Especially me. I admit it. Saying I am wrong and changing the way I think is NOT easy … but IS possible.

I’ve been seeing a wonderful counselor for over 4 years now. One thing we worked on for a long time was, “We can’t change anyone. We can only change ourselves.”

I cried a lot because I couldn’t comprehend why I was the one who had to change when I felt like I was the “victim” in every situation. I was not the one who did wrong. I am the one who is trying my hardest to do right and bad things continually happen to me. Why do I have to change? The other person needs to change, not me!

Photo Credit Keola Iaela 1/1/19

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” -unknown

I was going insane hoping others would change. I tried and tried to make the others change. I just got more stressed, frustrated, and upset. The only other option was to change me.

Photo Credit Zaya Pukahi 1/6/19

In order for me to change I had to

  1. Humble myself and accept I needed to change. (Getting to this point often takes me a long time to get to. I’m working on humbling myself quicker… 😛 )
  2. Learn how and what I need to change.
  3. Just do it. I often need to pray to have strength and courage to make the change because change is hard.

One of the biggest things I had to change was my expectations.

When I first became a single mom, I expected financial help from my children’s father. I expected a certain amount each month to help me provide for the basic needs of my children. When my money didn’t come I would get all stressed out and emotionally bent out of shape. I’d worry, cry, and basically be a total mess. I would be so angry that it was emotionally draining. My children’s father’s main job these past years is seasonal, mostly depending on tourism so it’s not completely his fault money isn’t regular.

I was tired of the stress and anxieties I felt from my unmet expectations. I was tired of always being angry. I finally accepted the fact that I could not change him and his income. So I decided I needed to change my expectations. I decided I would do my best to provide for all our basic needs (rent, insurance, medical/dental, food, clothing, school stuff, etc) myself. Whatever money I did receive in child support, I decided to count it as BLESSINGS.

As I chose to change my focus and expectations, my frustration and anger toward my ex dissolved. I was now able to have calm peaceful conversations with my ex without any resentment for unmet expectations. My focus was now on what I can do to financially provide for my children. When any child support does come in, I am HAPPY for the blessings that came.

I’ll be completely honest with you, I’m far from perfect and I sometimes do slip backward and freakout about not having my children’s financial expectations met. Especially when unexpected things pop up in our lives like another child needing braces or an expensive overnight field trip. I still do freak out by ranting and raving, getting on my poor ex husband’s case. He doesn’t deserve to be talked down to and made to feel less of a person. I’m not perfect. I continue to have to humble myself and make changes to myself. I need to continue to focus on what I can do and the blessing we do have, rather than what we lack.

We have been gifted life to learn and be better. It’s our choice how we choose to act in each situation.

Please share how you have chosen to change in a difficult situations, I would love to learn from your experiences too.


24 thoughts on “Why Do I Have to Change? I’m Not the Problem.

  1. I can relate. My hubby went to rehab and I couldn’t get away from thinking if he would just do what he is supposed to do we could all be happy. The counselor told me that I am in charge of my happiness and I needed to fix me. Oh my gosh was that a mistake he was the one that needed fixing, he was the drug user. I have never screamed at anyone as I did her. lol It’s taken many years to realize that what he does or did shouldn’t affect me. That sounds stupid because of course what spouses and the people in your life do will affect you. It was really hard to become humble and learn what I needed to do. But since then I have learned so many things and can truly say I am in charge of my own happiness. These lessons have been a blessing. There is light on the other side of these lessons I only wished I had learned sooner so I could teach my children when they were younger. But I choose! Good for you for learning so quickly! Always try learning and growing it’s the best!

  2. Oh, girl. I know exactly how you feel. Change is so hard. I recently went through a divorce, and my ex is nasty. He was while we were married, but it got worse after in dealing with our son. I was also in therapy and I learned to change my mindset. To look at the situation as him hurting, and me being the only person he feels he can take it out on. That I needed to let his words float away on a cloud, because I am stronger and wiser than he.

  3. Not being a victim is a tough choice for people, especially when you are. I remember making the decision to never depend on my ex to provide. G-d was my only provider. I threw every child support check in a drawer and saved them to take my kids on vacation eventually. It was a great feeling!

  4. You are rocking it. I think changing expectation to realistic ones, without resentment, is one of the hardest things in the world. Breathe deep, mama, you’re doing great!

  5. I was told once that the only thing you can control about others is your expectations of them. It made such a huge impact on my life. We struggle with my inlaws all the time and once I stopped expecting them to behave like I think grandparents should I was able to take the emotion out of the situation and finally find a healthy way to deal with it…which for us then meant minimal contact.

  6. Baby steps…I’ve slowly learned to admit when I’m wrong, that I’m the problem, and that it doesn’t mean weakness.

  7. Such a rough lesson. I have found much more happiness in my life when I learn to focus on changing the things I can control versus the things I can’t (i.e. other people). It’s not an easy lesson and one I’ve had to relearn many many times.

  8. I can so relate to this. Even when we know what we need to do it’s tough to actually do it. Having someone to talk to is always a great support.

  9. I had a very difficult year 2017 and beginning of 2018. I learned to surrender and ride the waves that life was throwing at me. To not have expectations and to stop trying to predict and control everything so much. It has helped me tremendously.

  10. I LOVE that you wrote about this. It’s one of those things that we say: You can’t change others, you can only change yourself… but really it sucks when it seems like really the other person SHOULD change…

  11. I really struggle with expectations. I hold myself to a high standard and I really struggle at work because I expect everyone to work as hard and as quick. Thanks for the reminders.

  12. Love this! You can only change yourself and not others. I’m dealing with this right now with family. So much anxiety over someone’s actions I have no control over, but I can control how I deal with my own thoughts and actions.

  13. Like I tell my children, “Happiness starts from within. Don’t expect others to make you happy and not everyone is perfect. We all make mistakes in which we learn. Hopefully, we don’t make the same mistakes”. Love your post.

  14. I love your transparency and what you’ve learned about yourself on your journey. I wanted to control and change my late husband because of his drinking – I learned, I couldn’t. I learned that I can only change myself. I still struggle with changes I need to make and I rely on the strength of my faith and the God I serve to help me make the changes I need to make. There is always hope that as we change and accept, others may change too. Great post!

  15. I can completely relate with you! I have experienced the same emotions. Like you, I learned to take control of my stuff. I didn’t depend on anyone. If you don’t depend on others, there isn’t disappointment, right? Any money that does come in extra, is amazing and definitely is put to good use 🙂

  16. This makes me think back to years ago when I was dating online. I felt like the victim a lot because guys would show up strong at first and then disappear. I blamed them and their poor communication. It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on them and focused on me and loving myself that I found someone who could match that love. Turns out, I was the problem even though I didn’t feel like I was. And nobody can love you until you love and are at peace with who you are.

  17. You are a strong woman! I am so grateful for my husband and all he does for us. I am working hard so that our finances aren’t a major concern because it is stressful, but like you said you can only change you.

  18. This is a great honest post. Change is very difficult. I am older and wiser but to get there I had to go through the same thing. I hated y ex for leaving me in the situation I was in. I had to move and take care of our 5-year-old son. Everything that went wrong was his fault. And wondered why he wouldn’t change. I realized I was the one that had to change. I did. Learned a lot from that. Fast forward 11 years later and I was dropping my son off at his dads and his wife. She asked if I wanted a beer. I said sure. I was sitting outside drinking a beer with them. My son walked around the corner and just froze. He said, “never in my entire life did I imagine I would ever see this. My mom hanging out with my dad. Since then we are all friends. We do birthdays, holidays, and just because all together. There are no hard feelings just friendship. It is great.
    You can do this!

  19. Oh, the stories I could tell here. As the mother of three boys and wife of 22 years, there have been many opportunities where I have had to change and many more where I simply had to choose to be my better self in a difficult situation. Great post and here’s to continuously improving ourselves.

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