“Why can’t you just take out the trash without me having to remind you three times?”

“I wish you would use a hand towel to dry the dishes as opposed to leaving them out to air dry.”

“You said you vacuumed, but I still see dirt on the carpet.”

“You need to cook dinner for the kids, not bring in take-out!”

These are just some examples of the kinds of things we say to our loved ones every day.  We know they are doing their best, but we just can’t help being irritated and stepping in to show them the “right” way to do things.  And we just can’t understand their reactions to our good intentions to facilitate their performance-improvement.  Why would they get so defensive and angry?  Our reactions are perfectly justified.  However, in reality, our reactions can range from kind and helpful to patronizing and demeaning, depending on how big the differences are in approaching tasks and how much we love control.  Welcome to the world of “there’s a right way and a wrong way in everything we do.”

Okay, by now you’ve got the message…

Living in the world above only leads to negative feelings and distance between people.

There really is another world; the world of “different, not better or worse, right or wrong, just different.”

Try living in this world for just awhile.  See how it feels.  See if you can let go of your need to control things and allow others to do things their way—even if this means allowing others to learn through their own experiences, successes, and failures.  You might discover you have a lot more energy and time for other things, your things.  You might discover your significant other is not as incompetent as you thought.  You might discover that your significant other has weakness as well as strengths that you don’t.  Couples tend to compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Explore how you can embrace the differences.  You may even find that when you work as a team, the outcome is better than if you had tacked the project all by yourself.  Embrace the world of Different.

Be well,


Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com.