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Without a doubt, the most popular sentence I hear people say to me is ‘well, I don’t really have an issue but my friend does! They are lazy/abnoxious/possessed by the devil’. The runner up is ‘I really wish you could talk to my mum/partner/sister/cat’.

I wish I had power to change other people. I really do. I would get that guy who just cut in front of me to apologise, realise how inconsiderate he was and promise never to do it again. Then I would change one of my girl friends to be always on time, rather than 10-15 minutes late. And finally, I’d probably look at fixing a politician or two (I’d probably have to clear my calendar though).

It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Of course no-one has the power to change someone else (despite how hard I wish!). So how can we exist in a world where everyone around us is clearly flawed??

Well the first answer is to realise that we, ourselves, are in fact flawed. I’m sorry to floor you with that fact (pardon the pun!) But it’s true. We aren’t perfect. And thank christ we aren’t! Being perfect means not making a mistake – ever! In fact, perfectionism is exactly the same as having no standards at all. Because perfection is not something we can achieve. Let’s have high standards, yes, as well as be ready to let ourselves off the hook when we muck it up. We are human. We are destined to make mistakes. And that is perfectly fine.

Coming to terms that we aren’t perfect doesn’t necessarily help the fact that others aren’t either. Their flaws are still annoying. So how can we learn to co-exist and even perhaps accept and love them for who they are?

1. Recognise that everyone is just doing the best with what they know. We all have different understandings, believes and values, which determine our actions. So when we come to terms with this fact, instead of seeing how that person might have been rude to us, we can begin to start accepting there are two sides to every story. That person might think that they weren’t rude, but instead that is just their manner.

2. Get to the root cause of why their behaviour irks you. What is it about their flaws that has you going nutty? Why do they seem to push your buttons? Ask yourself the following questions:

– Are you putting your standards on them? If so – is that fair?

– Are you offended by what they are doing? If so – can you see an angle where another person might not be offended?

Here’s a thought: sometimes what we dislike most in someone is what we are trying to hide/deny in ourselves. Also – we can only recognise in others what we first notice is in ourselves. Whoa scary!

3. Embrace what you can control – hakuna matata what you can’t. We can stress ourselves silly by worrying about and trying to change things that are beyond our realm of control. And because we can’t control it, there is nothing else we can do to alter the situation, so our worry and anxiety tends to increase. So adopt the phrase Hakuna Matata and let go of your worries, especially when it concerns something you can’t control.


Adopt the above mindset shifts and watch how the people around you change. Notice how you are more able to tolerate other people’s mistakes. And notice how you also start to forgive yourself for little flaws.

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