Dear Life Energy Expert,
I know you can't change a person, but is it ok to ask your boyfriend to change his bad habits? My boyfriend is great, except that he's so lazy. He says it's his way to unwind, but it bothers me how much time he spends inside playing video games and watching TV! I don't want to break up, I just want him to stop being so lazy. Am I being a bad girlfriend asking him to change?
Dear Lazy Lover,
Are you sure this is about your boyfriend? If you have been reading this website, and especially this blog, you may have a sense of what advice you will receive. I will cut to the chase and bring the focus back to you. Why? Because from an energy perspective everything is connected and interdependent, but as an individual you can really only recognize or affect the things that relate to you.
More directness. You are bothered by your boyfriend’s gaming and TV watching habits. So, “laziness” is your issue. When you feel uncomfortable with his behavior, I suggest you go within rather than focusing on something outside of yourself. Explore the discomfort you feel. Is it familiar? On what other occasions did you feel it? Is it connected to some internal message that you are repeating from childhood?
You may not have easy answers to these questions, but you can be sure that you will only encounter frustration if you try to change someone else. Remember, you have no control over another individual, no matter how close you are to them. Instead, you have the much greater power of choice, which is control over your own responses. Interestingly, what often happens is that when you change your reaction or response, doing the essential work on yourself, you notice the other person’s behavior shifts.
We hope you can recognize that your boyfriend is “great” with no exceptions (learn to love the real him and not his potential). Here are some tools to help:
1. The Breath Trick
In a relationship, you are bound to notice each other’s annoying habits. When something annoys you, before you say something—even to yourself—stop and take a breath. Notice the annoyed feeling, then breathe in deeply and very slowly exhale. You will find yourself less likely to rush to judgment.
2. Change Your Language
Sometimes it may be difficult to hold yourself back when you are bothered by something someone close to you is doing. Add the phrase “In my mind” to whatever comes out. So, you may find yourself telling your boyfriend “You are so lazy...in my mind!” It sounds kind of crazy, but it will help you realize how ridiculous it sounds for you to try to control his behavior in response to your feelings.
3. Together Alone
There is a possibility that you are not comfortable with your boyfriend being near you doing something that you do not enjoy. Try balancing space and boundaries between you by changing your response. The next time he sits down to a gaming session, you can choose to do something you really enjoy. You can enjoy the benefits of being alone while being together.
4. Gratitude Attitude
So, there is a distinct possibility that your boyfriend really is lazy. Even if that is true, control is still futile. So another option is to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Express thanks for whatever you notice. “I am so grateful that you are here spending time with me in front of the TV.”
All of these tools address your feelings and puts you in the drivers seat to change your energy.