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Be wary of holding on to something that’s not working!

Gail Oliver Cambridge | February 2023

Many of us are set in our ways, which can be good or bad. We may believe that our past experiences have given us an edge to stand firm. However, while this steadfastness can be beneficial in certain circumstances, it’s not so when we’re being inflexible.

Let’s take cooking—you may have a recipe that you don’t want to tweak and any suggestion about changing it, despite proof of a better outcome, causes you to break out in a sweat…oh, oh, I’ve stepped on a few toes!

I have caught myself telling someone what they should do or how they should act in a situation, then do a double take because that’s my way, not theirs. Being of a certain age (ha), I think things should be done in a specific manner, but a younger person’s viewpoint is not necessarily wrong and mine isn't necessarily right so we can learn from each other. We see this dynamic play out in family relationships as younger/older generations have different perspectives based on what they have experienced during their lifetimes.

It's a real test when people move in together—with higher temperature levels when in-laws are added to the mix! Being set in our ways wouldn’t work as we have to compromise on such things as finance, housework, and lifestyle. In the office, most of us have heard the words, “We’ve always done it this way.” Well, the pandemic lockdown certainly made us change the way we work and was a good example of how we can do things differently and maintain our efficiency.

We also need to be careful when expressing our opinions, especially when our words could be hurtful. I now stifle my initial abrasive response to one that’s innocuous. What about you, have you ever been put on the spot in a group setting and falsely agreed that someone’s hair, makeup, or attire looked good when it didn’t, or were you truthful? What was the outcome?

Sometimes, we may get grumpy when things don’t go our way and may even sabotage a situation just because it doesn’t fit into our set pattern of what we believe is right. Such close-mindedness hampers our relationships and causes us to be intolerant sticks in the mud…and nobody wants to be like that (or be with someone who is)!

Why don’t we want to give up our position? Stubborn, insecure, proud? What might we gain by being more open and embracing alternative ways of thinking and living? For example, Marie Kondo, the cleaning consultant, changed her mind about having a perfectly tidy home with the birth of her third child; she’s now okay with it being messier because she shifted her priorities to spending time her children.

At times, the circumstances can be a delicate dance. However, as we reflect on our attitudes and habits, let’s remember that our lives can be enriched when we unclench our fists and teeth and release our posture, allowing for the possibility that sometimes change can be positive.

Now, does this mean we should relinquish our values and imperfections that make us true to who we are? Absolutely not! We must simply be wary of holding on to something that’s not working. Instead, let’s leave room for improvement and thereby enhance our daily lives and our relationships.


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