Think INSIDE the Square to Keep Those Love Fires Burning

I was sitting in my sanctuary in my back yard contemplating the world's mysteries and minding my own business when a fellow neighbor walked up to me and started a conversation. As he looked a little distressed, I invited him into my little spiritual oasis and offered him a cup of coffee. He graciously accepted and sat down in one of the cushioned chairs, albeit slightly uneasy. I could tell by looking at him that he was troubled and I asked him what the matter was. He sighed, took a sip of his coffee and began to tell me how much he was becoming disillusioned with work and the whole scheme of things. It seemed that the bottom line of the matter was that he was tired of pulling the weight for his family and wanted out.

"Elmer," I said, "how long have you been married?"

"Too long," was his reply. "I'm working two jobs while she's sitting home, doing nothing. The spark has gone out of my marriage and I see no other alternative than to end it."

He took a sip of his coffee and put it back down on the patio table. The worry in his eyes was evident and I felt the urge to fix things, as was my nature when it comes to helping people not only find their soul mates, but keep them as well.

"Elmer," I began, "when I tell you this, you have to keep in mind that I'm telling you from a professional standpoint and not as a friend. You understand, don't you?"

"I'm listening," he said.

"You remember when you married Fran and all the world was a happy and blissful place?" I asked him.

"Sure, I remember."

"What has happened here is that when you first got married, you had the tendency to think 'outside of the square,' I said.

"Outside of the square?"

"Yes, instead of focusing on yourself, you took on responsibilities such as caring for your family and all those other obligations that entails when one agrees to marry. You put your own needs aside to make sure that your wife and children were well cared for. What has happened is reality crashed down upon you and you have no inner resources left in which to restore things to the way they were. Basically, Elmer, you're a walking time bomb, ready to explode anytime and it doesn't have to be that way."

"It doesn't?"

"Of course, it doesn't. It's time to think 'inside the square,' Elmer. It's time you focused on what makes you happy in order to make the rest of your family happy."

"You've got a point there," he said.

"You've got to begin with what makes Elmer happy," I continued. "Look at you. You're working two jobs and you come home and all you can do is eat a little dinner and go to bed. Then, you get back up and do it all over again. It's no wonder that you're distressed. What we have here, Elmer, is not disillusionment with your marriage; it's disillusionment with yourself and you don't even realize it."

"But, I have to work two jobs," he interrupted. "There's the mortgage, the kid's college tuition, car payments?"

"Elmer, stop right there," I interrupted. "What you are doing is looking 'outside of the square' again. Look 'inside of the square' and what do you see?"

Elmer stopped and thought for a moment. "I see someone who wants good things in life," he said. "I see not having to worry over bills and having a chance to enjoy life instead of always fretting over what's going to get paid this month and what isn't."

"Okay, Elmer," I said, "what can you do to make this happen for you?"

"Tell my wife to get a job?"

"Yes, that would certainly help, but we're not talking about your wife right now; we're talking about you. What can you do for yourself to keep your marriage alive and become a happier person within?"

"Accept the things I cannot change and focus on the things I can?"

"And how do you do that?" I asked.

"By looking 'inside the square' and not blaming others for my unhappiness?"

"Exactly."

Elmer is but one of the millions of people in the world that think running away from their problems is the solution to finding happiness within themselves. And they're dead wrong. Running away only prolongs the problem and, in fact, can intensify the very problem that you need to fix. Once Elmer understands what he has to fix about himself, only positive energy will flow, which will eradicate the negativities in his life.

I saw Elmer a week later while I was pruning my shrubs and he stopped for a bit to tell me his good news.

"I just have to tell you," he said, out of breath. "I took your advice and started thinking 'inside the square.' I took up cycling like I used to do in my twenties. After that, I told my wife that from now on, I'm going to do this twice a week. She looked at me in astonishment, but then said, 'Elmer, that's wonderful!' I was so surprised that she would approve of this. After that, I joined a gym and chewed the fat with my buddies there. I've never been happier!"

"That's wonderful, Elmer," I said. "And, how is your marriage?"

"Oh, that's the best part," he said, excitedly. "My wife looks at me like I'm a new man. It seems my positive attitude was contagious and even her own attitude has changed. She's thinking of joining me for a long-distance cycling trip to the mountains! And, even better than that, she's willing to join me for a budgeting class so that we can manage our bills better!"

"I'm so happy for you, Elmer," I said. "Just remember this-whenever things start getting bad, think 'inside the square' and do something good for yourself. The positive attitude will offset any negative energies that might arise and through bonding with your wife again, you will find that over time, it can only get better."

I watched Elmer walk back to his house and it could have been my imagination, but I do believe there was a step in his gait that wasn't there before.

Sometimes life gets in the way of maintaining a positive outlook on life, but if you stop for a moment and "fix" things within your own self, everything will come together not only for you, but for the loved ones in your family, too!

© Dorothy Thompson

Dorothy Thompson is a syndicated advice columnist, soul mate relationship coach and compiler/editor of the book that is going to change the way we view soul mates, ROMANCING THE SOUL--TRUE STORIES OF SOUL MATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND BEYOND. She is also the author of the ebook, "How to Find and Keep Your Soul Mate" and runs a highly successful advice blog called "Are You My Soul Mate?" at http://www.soulmateadvice.blogspot.com

For more information, visit her home on the web at http://www.dorothythompson.net

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