If you would only try harder.
If you would only examine the facts.
If you would only listen better.
If you would only be more considerate.
If you would only take another look at my PowerPoint.
If you would only be less of a socialist.
If you would only be more compassionate.
If you would only learn not to drive like an idiot.
If you would only drink less.
If you would only clean up your room.
If you would only worship my God.
If you would only see things the way I do.
If you would only see me for who I really am.
If you would only love me more.
When we have thoughts–or utter sentences–that begin with “if you would only…” it may be driven by a strongly held value or belief that we desperately want others to “get.” It may be rooted in our yearning to be accepted and appreciated. It may come from a place of love where we see the destructive behavior of someone we care about.
All too often it comes from a place of wanting to blame the other person. To shift the harsh spotlight away from us on to them. What we’re really saying is “I’m fine, you’re the problem. And it’s my job to fix you. And until you change, I’m not going to be okay.”
But you will be okay.
There’s a saying in Al-Anon–the 12 Step program for relatives and friends of alcoholics–that “you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it and you can’t control it.” You don’t have to be in a relationship with an addict to know that this mantra is spot-on in many, many situations.
There’s so much peace in letting go of the things we cannot change.
And there’s so much good work I can do without spending so much time worrying about you.