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I had a conversation with someone who was really stressed and heartbroken over one thing: her in-laws saw it as a full-frontal assault when their advice was not taken or demands weren’t met.

I’m going to say this plainly: no matter the role you play in anyone else’s life, YOU ARE NOT OWED WITH HAVING THINGS DONE YOUR WAY!

No one should have to walk around with the weight of the world on their shoulders because their choices are different than yours. There are only a few reasons why someone would burden someone else with this expectation:

1. They see it as a judgement on their choices if you make one that is different from them. If you have this problem, you need to deal with whatever insecurities you have that trap you into being so controlling that you can’t accept someone not choosing what you did.

2. It is a control issue. In the cases of parenting choices, YOUR KIDS DO NOT HAVE TO DO WHAT YOU DID THEY WAY YOU DID IT. Every parent is entitled to the right to find their own way. Even if what they are doing is completely different than what you did, THEY DO NOT OWE YOU AN EXPLANATION, AND THAT SHOULD NOT CAUSE A FIGHT.

3. This is a fight not worth having. If you’re going to insist on your own way above all, you are going to see division between you and whoever you operate like this with. Does love insist on its own way as the highest priority? No. Seriously consider how selfish you are if you can’t be in relationship with someone without everything having to go your way.

4. If you have something to say, be mature enough to address it with the person directly. This friend was deeply hurt by her father-in-law starting an argument on Facebook with her. Really? Facebook? That’s pitiable behavior, but it’s also maddening. It’s not ever okay. If you care so much about your way that you’re willing to throw an either aggressive or passive-aggressive tantrum on social media, you are not only going to make a fool of yourself, you are surely not going to get the result you want.

Here’s what it comes down to: the world isn’t about you. People don’t owe you giving you your way so that you are appeased. You can’t love people while only giving affection or time and approval when your will has been satisfied. Even if others cater to this and give in so they won’t have to fight, your relationships are superficial at best, and at worst, those around you are just constantly swallowing the resentment and anger they feel.

Who wants to make anyone feel this way? Who can live with that? Wouldn’t it be better just to love without stipulation? Wouldn’t it be better to give not as a means to get?

If you love people, insist on that. Insist on expressing that through ways that count. Insist on honoring their feelings and the relationships you want to have. Let go. Let them find their way. Even if they end up in a different place than you, that’s okay. Even if they fail, that’s okay. If you’ve loved them well, they’ll know it’s okay too.