top of page
  • Writer's pictureAya

You cannot change others or the past, but you don’t have to suffer #1

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

“Does it mean that I have to tolerate and suffer?”

Someone asked me.

No. It doesn’t mean you have to tolerate, suffer, or endure the situation or the person. Indeed, you cannot change others or the past, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have any other option but to suffer.

There are several possible scenarios when people say the phrase.

Scenario 1:

My neighbor doesn’t take her shoes off when she comes to my house.

In this situation, a boundary violation is happening. You have your own rule to maintain your own home. As an Asian in the US, I’ve heard many similar stories. You have your cultural values/norms but it becomes difficult to keep it when you live in a foreign country. You would like others to respect and follow the rule. If someone doesn’t do it, do you need to tolerate it?

In this situation, you show your rules clearly and tell the consequences in advance.

For example,

“In my household, we ask everyone to take your shoes off at the entrance (rule). I will remind you as I greet you upon arrival. If you don’t take your shoes off, I have to ask you to leave (consequence)”

And if someone doesn’t follow your rule, you have to make sure that the consequences happen.

Another case in this pattern might be “My husband doesn’t knock the bathroom door when I am using.”

Scenario 2:

I would like my friends to call me back, but she doesn’t.

It doesn’t have to be a phone call, but you have some expectations for others. So when the person doesn’t do as you’d like, you might feel you are not respected/well-treated. Or you might start to question yourself if she thinks you as a friend because you know what a friend should do.

However, you have your operation manual which you believe everyone should know. Is it true? Does everyone know your manual? Also, should everyone know it?

Many people have thick manuals. And they don’t doubt that everyone has the same manual. But it is not true. Everyone has a different manual. Some have a thick one, others have a thin one. Some have locked and berried in somewhere deep. Others leave it open. What does your manual look like?

Of course, you can request your friend what you want. However, it’s up to her if she follows your request or not. And you are responsible for how you feel against her action. Her action doesn’t make you upset. You make yourself upset based on what you think and what you feel after experiencing her action.

You are in charge of your emotion.

To be continued.


If you are interested in talking about your expat life, concerns, challenges, and opportunities, please book a FREE session from here →

I would love to hear your story.




bottom of page