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Holistic Environment: THE CHANGE ALTERNATIVE


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Every day we interpret what occurs around us. The way we interpret situations affects how we behave.

For the past four years communication between my brother, Jon, and I had gradually deteriorated. This was of great sorrow to me. But it was all his fault. Throughout my university career he never expressed an interest in what I was doing. I interpreted this as meaning he did not care.

As a result I decided not to make an effort. The relationship became so strained I could not bear to be in his company. I resigned myself to the fact that we would never have a close relationship. I was blind to an alternative and washed my hands of the situation. It was not my fault so why should I worry?

When we feel threatened, we get defensive. The best form of self-defence is to believe oneself and blame others. Isn't it just great when you know you are right! To accept responsibility for my actions and admit fault was unthinkable.

I may have been safe in my own little cocoon of self-righteousness but unlike the butterfly I was not displaying my full colours. I felt incomplete and dissatisfied with life in general. Sitting back blaming Jon, I was expecting him to change or take action.

After realising the cost of this blame, I decided to make the effort to express my love. I rang him and had the most amazing conversation ever. After telling him how I thought he did not care, he revealed that he thought I saw him as a loser. He felt we had little in common. It was not that he did not care. My interpretation was completely wrong.

I told him that I loved him. Such simple words... why so hard to say? I almost had to choke them out! In response he said, 'I love you too, and I really mean that'. The sense of joy I felt was incredible. It was as if a lead weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Until then I had no idea how much this situation had affected my being. The frightening thing is, I was prepared to settle for this poor relationship for the rest of my life.

It is remarkable how this experience has affected my other relationships. Two years ago I split up with a long-term girlfriend. I blamed her for manipulating me into who she wanted me to be. This was a persistent complaint of mine and a source of great anger. The cost was huge. I could not express my love for her. With subsequent girlfriends I was unable to commit beyond a certain point for fear of being manipulated and losing my individuality. I would end all relationships as soon as this fear came up. My future was being controlled by the past.

I urge you not to be a victim who complains the world has done you an injustice. Complaints keep the lid on possibility. By removing the complaints from my life I have been able to create alternative ways of being.

These experiences have taught me that to make a difference I must change myself. By doing so I have witnessed others change around me.

Tim Vaughan, UK

Last update: 2000-02-12 17:20:20 (EEST).
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