Today, while in the ladies room, I heard two co-workers talking. One was crying.
“I told her I got back together with him because I married him,” she sobbed. “I thought maybe he’d changed.”
Well, you can guess the rest of the story. He hasn’t changed.
“I know I’m a good person. I’m doing things I don’t want to do because of him.”
As I stepped up to the sink to wash my hands, I said to her, “you remember who you are and don’t let anyone change that.” She nodded, and opened up about what was happening. I listened.
Then I went on to say, “Sometimes we try so hard to make something work, and it just isn’t working. We try to change things, but there’s often something else going on with the other person, something we don’t know about. If someone else makes you feel bad, you need to walk away. Don’t try to figure it out and fix it. Walk away.”
I could see that had an impact. She heard me. Maybe, just maybe, something it took me a long time to learn can change things for her and make her life better now, while she’s still so young.
I’m not saying give up on marriage at the first struggle, but if there’s abuse, if someone is scared, it’s time to jump ship and swim for your life to safer shores.
We never know when what we’ve said changes someone’s life, or a part of it. Years ago I had lunch with a former colleague. He was struggling with a job he hated, and the weight of his despair was leaving him seriously depressed. I asked him the same thing someone else had asked me, and my answer had changed the course of my life.
“What you be doing if you were doing what you wanted to do?”
He didn’t answer me then, but I saw him a couple of years later. He bubbled over with enthusiasm.
“I thought about what you said, and I knew the answer. It changed the entire direction of my career. I have a job I love!” he told me. “Thank you!”
Really? Wow. Frankly, I didn’t even remember asking him that question, but I’m not surprised I did, knowing how it had affected me. What else have I said or done that has had a positive impact on someone else? (I ask forgiveness for things I’ve said or done that have hurt others.)
I hope my young co-worker makes the right decisions and moves on to greater things. I hope she holds out for a man who treats her right.
I hope my words make a difference.
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