Last weekend, we went to stay with friends just outside of Manchester. It was one of those life-affirming, bloody joyful weekends where you really count your blessings. On the Saturday we went for a walk. Eight adults and six children of varying ages. We stopped for a drink at a pub that had a disused railway running alongside it. We sat there and had our drinks while the children were playing.
A short while later a group of horse riders came past us. The lady at the front of the ride said that they were stopping for a drink, and if any of the children wanted to come and say hello, then that was not a problem. Now, I love horses, and even since before I was pregnant, I had a vision in my head of me and my kids going out horse riding together. Basically, my life had just been made with her kind offer.
I grabbed Edward and wandered over, he was more than happy to stroke their noses, and pat them on the neck. However, it became very obvious, very quickly that he would not be sitting on one of them as I had been hoping he would. We had tears, so I got his Dad to try, but he got the same reaction. So it didn’t happen, and I was genuinely gutted about it for a while.
It got me thinking about how that happens so much in life. How we desperately want someone to be a certain way, or do a certain thing, but they don’t, and we end up feeling frustrated and disappointed.
But the only thing we can control are our own actions and thoughts (most of the time). We cannot make another person do or be anything that they don’t want to do or be themselves. Its a tough one to accept, but the better we get at doing so, the better we will feel, as we wont be battling with them all the time.
You can’t make someone quit smoking, you can’t make somebody love you, and I can’t make my son like horse riding. Nobody can make you do or feel things that you don’t want to either. We all have a choice about the meaning we make of something, we all have a right to decide how to react.
Next time your find yourself in this place, be honest and ask yourself why it means so much to you for them to do or be what you want them to. Where is that coming from? Then, focus on you, and what you can change, or influence. Spend your time and energy on those things, instead of what you can’t change.