Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lessons learned from a book

One of my favorite books has always been The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A wonderful book that packs a lot of great 'quotables' between the front and back cover. At one point the Little Prince says the following:

If I were to command a general to turn into a seagull, and if the general did not obey, that would not be the general's fault. It would be mine.

Isn't that something we all try to do time after time? We want people and things to change but too often we forget or don't to admit that it is change that is simply not possible.

I know I am guilty of it when it comes to L. There are things that I want him to do that (at least at this point) he might be unable to do. One of the things I struggle the most with when it comes to L's illness is to understand his compulsive behaviors. For me it is easy to say 'Well, just don't buy that item'. As someone not personally dealing with this issue I just don't have the understanding of what goes on in his mind at that point.

In situations like that I have to keep in mind that I cannot force change when there is no possibility of change. I am not saying that he will never be able to overcome this compulsion. He has made great strides in this area and I am hopeful that he will continue to do so. But I cannot tell him to change because it won't magically happen. The change needs to come from within himself and all I can do is to be supportive and to remind myself of what the Little Prince said.


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