An unappealing characteristic is “Not appreciating what one has”.
Below is the snapshot of a man who falls into this category and he was okay with me writing about his life as long as I didn’t use his name. He thought that maybe it could be insightful for others who might relate to his experience.
A husband and father and from what I observe, he is good in both roles. He takes his responsibility seriously although he knows he can be a better husband and more patient with his children. He’s well liked and people enjoy being around him yet high stress is a constant in his life – something most people don’t see.
In addition, he isn’t concerned with recharging his batteries and soothing his soul by having weekly “Me Time” – time that is essential for all of us.
His wife is kind and calm. From what he tells me, she could improve in the wife category. According to him, she is a wonderful mother and he admires her loving and patient ways with their children. She’s one of the most likable people I know.
Both are career oriented/ambitious and have been successful in their occupations. Infidelity has never been a problem in their marriage as far as I know. The stress of marriage with their small children presents daily challenges.
What he talks about, sometimes incessantly, is how unhappy he is with his situation – primarily his marriage. It was puzzling the first time I heard it and continues to baffle me. In my opinion, he has a good life (which I have told him) – a life admired by more than a few.
I’ve counselled people on both sides of the fence, those truly unhappy and those who say or feel they are unhappy yet are only masking the true unhappiness - themselves. This man falls into the latter category and my advice to him is usually similar to the advice I give to people in his situation. I let them know in no uncertain terms to “Appreciate what they have”.
One of his issues is thinking that his life should be super exciting all the time. He gets irritated when the small kids are whiny or the wife is tired from a long day and only wants to rest or his job inbox is overloaded or life in general is stressing him out…just to name a few. In addition, his outer family members (generally) are not the caring types which he allows to affect his mind and behavior.
He must have thought that life with kids and a wife would be similar to his previous single life. I’ve told him time and time again that life with small kids, dual careers and a marriage is hectic and challenging for most people I know. Also, nobody has a thrilling life all the time!
The key for him is appreciating the positive blessings and not dwelling on the tough or negative moments. A little positivity could help him immensely. He tends to put the blame on the marriage (or other outside elements) instead of looking inside himself at the real problem – his damaged soul.
Another plus in his life is that he and his wife have “date nights” which I’ve told him to be thankful for. After speaking to numerous people about their lack of time alone with their spouse since their kids were born, what he has is special.
His main issue is thinking that the “grass is greener” in another life he dreams about or admires in others – again looking outside instead of inside. Unfortunately, far too many men (and women) share this same warped sense of reality and often leave situations they later regret.
In my experiences with the relationship breakups/divorces of those close to me, the grass is rarely greener. Sometimes yes, most often no.
Let’s look at his positives:
He and his wife have successful jobs and careers
Both are healthy
They have “date nights”
Their children are happy, smart and healthy
While his outer family is nothing to be desired, they are supportive towards him
His wife is patient, calm and deals with stress much better than he does
She’s a wonderful mother (his words)
His wife is one of the more likable people I know
He is very likable and has numerous close friends – more than most
Is there really any point looking at the negatives?
Everyone has negatives (or challenging moments as I tend to say) in their life or things they don’t like although I find no use in dwelling on them especially when the positives far outweigh the negatives - as they do for him.
If the negatives outweigh the positives, then a change should be a consideration. A good friend married a person no one thought was good for him. We did a positive/negative list with him before the marriage and the negatives were more than double the positives. He got married anyway. Needless to say, the relationship was soon over and everyone is happy that he made the change. The “grass was greener” for him as his is now happily married the second time around.
When a simple list like the aforementioned is done with people contemplating a major life change, they usually see the light. Fortunately, for this man, he has a few close friends who he trusts and opens up to about his life. For the most part, they have given him advice similar to mine. That’s what good friends are for.
To have a more fulfilling life and begin the healing process of his soul, he needs to improve in three main areas:
1) Patience – Being impatient has very few benefits. Most of the people I admire or respect are patient people.
2) Stress - A high level of stress can make life difficult in many areas including a major breakdown. I realize that it’s not easy to lower one’s stress although to not work on improving it can be extremely detrimental to one’s health.
3) “Me Time” – Maybe the most important to master for one’s happiness. I wrote an article about it and told my friend “that there is nothing more important than daily or weekly “Me Time” to do the things that you enjoy”. He read the article and knows that I get mine EACH AND EVERY DAY so I think it has helped him.
The link to “Master your Me Time” is below:
He’s doing better now and his complaints have decreased considerably which is a step in the right direction. He still has a long way to go in order to improve in the “Me Time” and stress area although his patience has improved. It would be sad and disappointing to see him leave his family only because he wasn’t happy with himself. It’s very difficult to be happy in most relationships if you don’t take care of number 1 (YOU!) first.
In my opinion, I could almost guarantee that his “grass wouldn’t be greener” in any other situation.
If nothing else, I know he has a better appreciation of the positives in his life.
I wish him well.
Happy Gswede Sunday!
One can appreciate the beauty of autumn, yet fail to appreciate the beauty in their own life. (Picture by Helena)