When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Viktor Frankl
Like the reformed smoker upon witnessing someone lighting up, I cringe every time I see a couple where the male is often one to several strides ahead of his partner while “taking a stroll out together”. They might even be talking to one another while he crooks his neck over his shoulder just enough to indicate the direction of his communication. I look at this feeling guilty for what I once did.
Perhaps this is your reality still? Guys, why do you do it? Gals, how does it make you feel? It may appear to be a banal observation of mine but I ask you to indulge me for a moment or two longer.
That there can be any logistical or physiological explanation is pure nonsense. He is stronger, has more energy to burn or has longer legs doesn’t cut the mustard. If so, then the pair “walking together” would eventually not have a one or several stride separation but the longer the duration of the walk he could end up dozens of metres ahead of her. So therefore some semblance of self-control on the male’s part is unmistakably feasible while keeping that preferable and steady distance advantage. But why?
I don’t plan to delve into an anthropological analysis, but at play can be any number of factors: Ego. Power. Fear. Misogyny. Culture. The norm …
We go through life repeating actions, actions that might make others or us uncomfortable, ill at ease, angry or disheartened. I do believe that much of this is subconscious – we can act on autopilot once our norms have become customary and deeply rooted into our daily activities and interpersonal relationships of whatever form they may be categorized.
Those norms are our crutch or our co-dependency. They are our safety or our misery. Sometimes they ground us; at other times they bury us.
What if you held yourself back and genuinely walked beside her? I bet she would instantaneously notice and be thrilled by your amendment to the norm. How would you then make this your new norm? Do you even want to? Maybe this change would be a positive one that grounds you.
The barrier to all this is our natural resistance and reluctance to change. We are too old to change. It is too difficult. I am afraid to change. I see no need to change my life. Why should I slow down, she should walk faster! The excuses are endless.
Change is not always easy when patterns in our lives have existed so long. Lolly Daskal
So where does one go from here? If the status quo is serving you well then there is no need to transform anything. No one knows that better than you do. Yet if any unsettledness exists within, a different approach may be warranted to achieve contentedness. I know we are all capable of honest and substantive change in our lives. It works but requires work. Are you ready?
My upcoming book, When Walls Become Bridges*, is all about change – mine and the wonderful benefits and surprises that are possible with it.
* When Walls Become Bridges, A Journey of Discovery To Heal and Conquer Hatred will be released on October 16, 2017