#19 - Nobody's Perfect
Bumped into a couple of loyal Love Doctor fans this weekend. I commented to one of them that I was appreciative that she read the column "sometimes". She emphatically informed me that she read her Love Doctor every week. Well, let me tell you that it certainly is nice to be greeted with praise and gratitude for the (wonderful) job I do, here, in the Love Doctor column. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all of you who are making this newspaper scarce each week by seeking out the column.
As I spent some time this week wandering amongst the folks, it became apparent that many of you may be suffering from the misconception that life around the Love Doctor's house is always "wonderful". Well, quite frankly, it's not, at least not, all the time.
Even well intentioned people will have rough spots in their relationships. None of us is perfect (not even your Love Doctor), and therein lies one reason for many bad moments in the love lives of even the most compatible of couples. Another reason is that couples are made of two people who grew up in different homes, accustomed to different habits, different priorities, different assumptions.
Perhaps the Love Doctor's greatest shortcoming is his failure to comply with the instructions once seen printed on a bumper sticker, "Be sure that brain is engaged, before putting mouth in motion." Yes, once in a great while, I will open my mouth and say something that is often truthful, but very insensitive and unnecessary. What can I say? Now you have it in print, "The Love Doctor is not perfect!".
That should help you fellows who have to bear with some of my women readers who insist on telling their men things like, "You ought to be the one reading this." or "Yeah, Boo's so lucky. Got herself one of those considerate men." (Ha, you didn't think I knew about how my column is used sometimes.)
Actually, the best thing I ever did for myself was to accept the fact that I wasn't and never would be perfect. Thank God for that! It's nice to know that it's alright to make a mistake, every now and then. I don't have to be perfect to be happy with myself. All I have to do is improve. That's the big word when it comes to our expectations of one another. We should see "improvement" in one another. I hurt people's feelings less now than when I was twenty or thirty, so I feel better about myself and Boo isn't afraid to invite her family over anymore.
Before I go any further, let me be perfectly clear. There are certain personal problems that are intolerable and cannot be "improved" upon, only stopped completely, and then usually only by seeking professional help. Abuse is a sickness. Never, ever wait for an abusive person to improve themselves, allowing yourself or your children to be hurt in the process. Get help!
Drug addicts rarely, if ever, "improve". Those addicted to drugs generally become worse, eventually selling every thing around them (including you, if you let them). Get away. Perhaps the only way you can help a drug addict is to help shock them with the reality that they will lose you and everything else they have if they don't get help with their addiction. Never underestimate the power of cocaine (crack) or heroin.
Those who suffer from alcohol abuse take longer to "hit bottom" because they generally don't have to sell everything.(alcohol is cheap). If they are not abusive, they may only be harmful to themselves, pedestrians, automobile drivers, children in school buses, and people who ride in cars with them, or depend upon them for support. Alcoholics cannot gradually "improve" they must stop completely, usually with help from others.
The rest of us can generally "improve" ourselves. The biggest stumbling block for most people is a "hard head". You know, those who never want to admit that they are wrong. They will argue and argue to defend something that they've said or done until all you can do is walk away hoping (for their sake) that they really don't believe what they are saying in their arguments. These folks are destined not to "improve" because they are incapable of taking the first step in the "improvement" process.
You see, if they believe that they are are right all the time they can't improve. If they are going to improve something they have to admit that it needs improvement, admit that it is wrong. Only then can they begin to make it right. If a person can't admit that he or she is wrong sometimes then they can't improve themselves.
In addition to admitting that you are wrong, you must be willing to change, to commit to doing something differently. As a matter of fact an "improvement" can be defined simply as a "positive change".
So, If you and your "significant other" are willing to admit your imperfections and work for "positive changes" in yourselves then there is all the hope in the world that you will be able to have a wonderful, warm, open minded improving relationship.
If you are stuck with a hard headed, inflexible "always right" person in your life, all you can do is pity them. For they are destined to stay just like they are... ignorant and grumpy.
Boy, I sure am glad that I'm not perfect. How about you?