If you can't change a person or situation...

If you can't change a person or situation, change how you feel about that person or situation.

This notion brings to mind another of my favorite axioms: "Life isn't about what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you."

Let's face it: People are hard to change. Trying to change someone's tendencies, beliefs, or attitudes is often an exercise in futility. People get stuck in routines, and old habits die hard.

I wish my wife were more organized and into sports and exercising. As much as I may entreat her to do these things, she will never ever be a neat freak or fitness enthusiast. At times, she makes half-hearted attempts to put in a workout or watch a baseball game, but it's obvious -- from the bored look on her face and her clear lack of enthusiasm -- that she's only doing it to appease me.  It can be frustrating to have to almost beg someone to do something,

So what's my only option? To change how I feel about the situation.

I convince myself that these things aren't worth getting all bent out of shape over. Her lack of interest doesn't mean she doesn't care about me, but she just can't bring herself to feel excited about these things -- as much as she tries. Many people in the world are messy, loathe exercise, and find baseball utterly dull.

Sooner or later, you have to lower your expectations to some degree -- or else you'll be left feeling hurt or resentful. It goes both ways, though. If someone else refuses to change, they should not request that you change anything about yourself that you're happy with.

I also have an old friend who makes every excuse in the book whenever I propose we hang out. At first, I was really bothered by this, but over time I realized it just isn't worth it to waste precious time and brain cells on someone who doesn't deserve it.
I have since decided that if he only wishes to remain friends via text and messenger, that's what we'll do. I have other things and people to worry about.

The moment you let a person or situation hijack your thoughts, you give them control over you. Whenever you feel tempted to dwell on anything or anyone, shift your thinking. Read a book, watch TV, have a beer with a close friend, continue with your home improvement project -- anything to transition from a negative mental state to a positive one.

We may not be able to change a person or situation as we'd like. But we do have control over the extent to which we'll allow the person or situation to affect us.

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