The Inside Out

As the family goes, so goes the world around us. The world passes by way of the family. All of us had a
start in some form of a family, whether it was small or large; biological or adoptive; ethnic or diverse;
rich, middle income or poor. However, how we were raised played and still plays an important role in
who we are and what we’ve become. Whether we do things a lot like those who raised us or nothing like
them, the tone of our homes growing up played a part in shaping us.

In years of working with couples and families, I continue to be amazed how true the old adage is: “A chip
off the old block”. So many couples, I have seen, have brought their broken life pieces, from their family
of origin, into their relationships and marriages, and have repeated some of these same old patterns in
their own family. Couples shrug these patterns off as, “That’s just who he (she) is. You know those
Italians (or fill this in with another Ethnic background)”. However, all too often, many of these same
patterns, if not looked at or dealt with, can deal a damaging blow to our relationships.

I often encourage individuals to look inward to see how the patterns they have built into their life can
either be productive or destructive, especially when it comes to their relationships. We have the ability
to only change ourselves, but in changing our behaviors and reactions towards others, people around us
often change also. In our world today, many are allowing destructive patterns to rule their relationships
instead of seeking ways to change these patterns for their wellbeing, the wellbeing of their spouse and
their children.

● When things are starting to go wrong in your relationship, look inward first. We are often too
quick to see the faults of others and lash out about them. However, it could be the very things
we are doing, or saying, or how we are saying it, or our non-verbal’s that are a big part of the
● Change comes from 1) Acknowledging what you’re doing wrong, 2) Getting new information as
to what the other person needs from you in order to make things better, 3) An attitude of desire
to work at changing the problem, and 4) Time! It takes time to change behaviors/patterns.
● You may find yourself saying, “Yeah, but they have faults also, why do I have to change?” To
which I say: “You can’t force others to change without negative consequences. You can only
change yourself and hope to inspire change in others.” When I stopped fighting my wife and I
started to look inward, she no longer needed to fight me and was free to start her process of
looking inward too. Change what comes out of you and it will change what comes out of those
around you!

You see, I’ve come to believe that I do have the power to change the world; by changing myself. As I
change for the better, it has improved the relationships around me: my wife and children, my friends and
family, those who I work with, etc. This in turn gives my children a model to pattern their lives after and to change their future families and those around them. Like a pebble thrown into a pond, when we change destructive patterns to productive patterns, the “ripple effect” goes out from us and makes

If our families keep crumbling, how we can expect the world around us to do anything else but crumble
with them. If we can’t stop the battles in our own family, how can we hope to stop the battles in the
world around us? However, it’s clear to me that instead of worrying about the world around me or what
others should do to make things better, I’ve decided that I’m going to change the world around me, from
the inside out.

Written by: Greg Schutte

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