One summer, when I was a thin, small, peepsqueaky, sixteen year old boy, I placed a backpack over my shoulder and rode a plane for Israel. (I won first prize in a Bible Quiz in Television—and this was the prize.)
It was the first time I traveled out of the Philippines.
And would you believe?
I went alone.
After moving around Holy Land for 10 days, I took another plane for Rome. And from one train to another, I traveled to 30 more cities in Europe: Assisi, Padua, Paris, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt… All by my lonesome self.
When I came back, my classmates asked me what I did last summer.
Naturally, they freaked out when I told them. They pulled their hair and screamed, “That’s unfair! Your parents allow you to travel to Europe alone for a month? My parents don’t even allow me to go to my friend’s house across the street without a chaperone for two minutes! My parents are absolutely, completely, totally unfair!”
I laughed and never understood how our parents could be so different.
Today, 30 years wiser, I now understand.
I believe their parents weren’t being unfair.
What happened? Phillip Mcgraw says it powerfully: You teach people how to treat you.
I realize now that my classmates taught their parents to be controlling.
And I taught my parents to give me all the freedom in the world.
How? I was boringly predictable!
As a young guy, I basically obeyed them everyday. I came home at the time they wanted me to come home, I did my assigned responsibilities, and I loved God with all my heart! I was so boringly predictable, my parents could predict what I would say if a friend gave me a cigarette (“No, thank you. I love my lungs.”) or when a stranger would offer me drugs (“No, thank you. I love my brain.”).
Hey, this principle works in any relationship, so adults, listen to me.
Do you feel that your boss in the office is treating you unfairly?
Has your husband been verbally abusing you for ten years now?
Do you feel that your friends totally ignore you?
Let me give you a bitter pill to swallow: Partly, you created their response towards you. You taught them how to treat you.
About that boss that is unfairly treating you—just MAYBE, you showed a negative attitude in the office and your boss is responding with hostility.
About that verbally abusing husband—just MAYBE, you made your husband think it’s acceptable behavior that he maltreat you because you tolerate it again and again.
About the friends who totally ignore you—just MAYBE, they’re simply respecting the wall you’ve erected around you.
Stop blaming others.
Now go change your life.
May your dreams come true,