Words of Wellness

May 04, 2011 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

"Life Is Not A Spectator Sport"

†† ††I have a confession to make.† I watched the Royal Wedding last week.† Our daughter, Mary, asked me to record the wedding so that she could watch it when she came to visit this past weekend and so Saturday night I sat down with her and my wife to watch the grand event. † Apparently I wasnít alone, as apparently there were hundreds of millions of people around the world who tuned in to watch William and Kate pledge their love to one another.

†† † I think itís great that so many people wanted to be spectators of the royal wedding, watching and cheering on the new bride and groom.† With all the different things that we could be watching on television, who wouldnít rather watch a love story like this?† So while itís great to be spectators of a wonderful event like the Royal Wedding, whatís not so great is when people choose to be spectators of our own lives. †

†† † A person who approaches their life as a spectator is a person who talks and acts as if their life is happening to them.† They talk and act as if they are powerless to effect change in their lives.† This is what they might sound like:

ďMy wife/husband never allows me to have input on things.Ē†

ďI always have to do what my friends want to do and they never do what I want to do.Ē †

ďThe holidays are always celebrated at my parentsí house and we never get to host the holidays at our house.Ē †

ďNo one ever listens to my ideas at work.Ē

†† † In each of these preceding comments, the person is talking as if they are a passive participant in their own life, as if their life is simply happening to them. †

†† † The alternative to being a spectator of our own lives is to realize that we actually co-create every relationship in our lives, and act instead as an active participant.† We realize that we do have the power to effect change in our lives. † If there is a long standing pattern in any relationship in my life that I am not happy with, I first need to accept that I have, to some degree, co-created this pattern.† Accepting this is the first step to empowering myself to take steps to change it.† Next we will need to communicate our needs and work to co-create new patterns in the relationship. †

†† † William and Kate made vows to each other last week about the kind of relationship they intend to co-create together.† In order to make those vows a reality, they will need to commit to ongoing communication about how their life together is going for each of them. † They will have to risk letting the other person know what they need and want from each other.† They will have to risk being assertive when they are not happy.† They will need to be proactive about protecting and caring for their relationship in the midst of the many external pressures and distractions that they will face.† In all of this, they are no different from you and I and the meaningful relationships that we seek to create in our lives. †

†† † Itís so much easier to be a spectator and commentator regarding other peopleís lives.† After all, isnít that what gossip is all about! † Itís so easy for us to see the different choices Tiger Woods or Charlie Sheen should have made in their lives. † Itís harder for each of us to see those choices in our own lives and in our own relationships.† And itís harder still, but yet so rewarding, to choose to be an active participant and take the responsibility and initiative to make new choices, truly co-creating the life and relationships that we desire. †

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