Who Moved? Don’t Turn Away from Others—Turn Toward Them

I have a friend I will call David.  He loves to tell the story of his early courtship with his wife whom I will call Jenny.  He talks of his joy in getting her in his pickup truck to go out for a wonderful date night.  What he loved the most was when she would slide over and sit right next to him.

Well, David and Jenny’s courtship blossomed into a wonderfully strong marriage with equally remarkable children.  They truly loved each other.  They kept the old truck for some time and David continued to take Jenny out on drives and romantic dates in that truck.

One day while David drove on in that old truck, Jenny said to him, “How come we don’t sit next to each other anymore?” David looked at her sitting on the far side of the bench seat holding on to the door handle.  He then looked down at himself sitting at his usual place behind the steering wheel.  After a careful pause, he calmly said “Well, I have not moved.”

What is it about us that causes us to be more focused on the movements of others that we miss, like Jenny, that we are the ones who have moved?

You see it all of the time on the road.  Drivers get so focused on what another driver is doing and they miss what they are doing.  I have ridden in the car with drivers who one minute complain about someone cutting them off or not using their blinker, and then moments later they do the exact same thing!

It is such a simple thing to see what others are doing and point it out.  Too many of us are nearsighted when it comes to the movements of others and way to far- sighted when it comes to our own movements.  This myopic view can cause heartbreak and struggle, especially in our most important relationships.

To see only what others are doing (or not doing) and not notice our contribution (or lack thereof) can be so terribly hurtful to our most important relationships.  We need to combat this natural tendency and move closer to each other by paying attention to ourselves more than the movements of others.

In my work as a marriage educator and relationship coach, we often talk of turning toward instead of turning away.  Those happiest with their relationships have this wonderful habit of moving closer or turning toward each other—even during times of struggle and conflict.  Moving closer is so much better.

So, how can we make sure we are not sliding away from others and be certain we are turning toward them?  Here are three tips to make that happen:

First, please remember you are on same team.  We enter relationships with such a desire to help, love, and support each other.  We start out committed to the same ideals and gain great satisfaction out of really seeking to lift and build each other.  Working together in a relationship can be one of the most satisfying things this life has to offer.

Yet, sometimes we forget our desire was to complete each other and then we begin to compete with each other.  Instead of striving to build up, we begin to tear down.  Rather than generous words of affirmation, we destroy with harsh words and criticism.  If we are not careful, we slide all too quickly from love and unity, to distance and hurt.

We must turn toward each other and always strive to remember what brought us close together to begin with.  Remembering we are on the same team brings a greater desire to pull close and stay close.

Second, please look in the mirror instead of the magnifying glass.  Michael Jackson taught us to start with “the man in the mirror.”  It is all too easy to magnify other people’s weaknesses while downplaying and minimizing our own.  However, that distorted view rarely produces anything meaningful or helpful.

We are all quick to say, “you cannot change other people,” but then speedily point out all that is wrong with another.  Perhaps, we need to adapt the message of the side mirrors on our car and admit that our view may be distorted.  When it comes to measuring the traits of others, objects are likely larger in appearance than they really are.

Let’s face it!  We have no business focusing on others when there is so much we need to do for ourselves.  Let’s be so busy watering (and even weeding) our own grass that we do not have time to see if someone’s else’s is greener or not!

Third, please cultivate gratitude and the ability to see good in others.  There is so much to be thankful for each day.  We live in a wonderful world with so many wonderful things and people all around us.  One does not have to look very far to find something good!  It is truly all around for those who have nurtured the ability to see it.

I honestly believe that most people are doing the very best they can with what they have at the time.

What happens if we gave people the benefit of the doubt?  What if we believe in the best in people even when it may not seem completely obvious?  What if we simply refused to find fault, but only offered praise?

We can begin with my simple motto:  Think to thank!  Make it a deliberate thing to find the blessing and comment on it!  Thank everyone you meet!  Better yet, thank those who are around you all the time.  Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  Learn to see and speak the best in everyone around you.

Let’s all strive to stay closer and connected to the people in our lives.  Let’s focus on turning toward each other in positive ways!  Let’s get close together and take this ride of life pulling together!  It is more fun that way!


Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R Jacobs is a brave creator who strives to do mighty things! Jim is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator helping others to live more brave and authentic lives! He is the author of Driving Lessons For Life: Thoughts on Navigating Your Road to Personal Growth. Jim speaks professionally, and coaches others to success and living with integrity. He is a counselor, educator, innovator, father, and friend. Please check out Jim R. Jacobs and Driving Lessons For Life and find Jim on social media! Let's connect and dare mighty things!

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