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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October: Solving Other People's Problems

In The Sweet Far Thing, Gemma thinks she can use magic to alter the lives of her friends and family. Have you ever felt manipulated into solving someone else's problems for her/him? Can you ever really change somebody else's life?


Little Willow said...

I'm a people-pleaser, but I am not easily manipulated. I get quite hurt if anyone tries to manipulate me, especially if it is someone I trusted.

Melissa Walker said...

There are definitely some people who seem to always have problems, and they like to complain and hash out the same things over and over. I try to steer them toward happier thoughts, but that may relieve me more than it does them.

That makes me feel some guilt about what kind of friend I am, but I try not to get myself manipulated into dwelling too much on problems, especially if they're pretty small in the big picture.

ali said...

I don't think I've ever been manipulated into solving someone else's problems. But then again, I'm famous for forgetting stuff ;)

As for changing someone . . . No, no I do not think you can ever really change someone. You can lead them to change, or inspire change, or encourage change, but the change itself always has to be self-motivated. Change is, in the end, a solitary act.

Libba Bray said...

Gack! I am the world's worst about feeling responsible for other people's feelings and trying to "fix" their problems. Less so as I've gotten older (and had gaboodles of therapy, thank you), but when I was a teen, it was really easy to guilt me into things. I think that aspect of Gemma didn't fall far from the tree, so to speak.

I agree with Ali that I don't think you can change someone, that true change can only come from within. But I do think we bump up against each other and influence one another in ways big and small.

Erin said...

I think you can change someone's life, but you can't change them. I know, that doesn't seem to make sense, but...what I'm trying to say is, you can affect people. You can be a part of what changes them. But any internal change has to come from that person. You can't make people change. But you can make an impact on their life.
I have no idea if that makes sense....! it does in my head, ha.

Dia Calhoun said...

I love this about the book: that Gemma learns that not even with magic can she change her friends and family. It has to come from them. I like how this is shown by Ann's first attempt to go on the stage, when Gemma changes her into a beauty. It doesn't work because the change has to come from Ann.

Little Willow said...

I agree with Erin that one person may affect and influence another, definitely. Change can mean so many different things. Some changes can't be helped or stopped or avoided. Others can. Sometimes we have choices; sometimes we don't. It may be difficult to make a choice and to come to a decision, but to have the power of choice, to have that freedom to make that decision, is something we should never take for granted.

Shelf Elf said...

Ditto what Erin said.

Erin, I completely get what you're saying. You said it just right.

We can influence others, but change must come from the individual.

Wish I'd known that about ten years ago.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Great responses to a tough question from Libba!

As a mom, I irrationally carry around a happy card to try to be certain my daughters/family are happy. And it's so sad I can't make them take my happy card!

Now, I'm reading GOING BOVINE and just hit the CESSNAB section. EEK! Quote: "We human beings can't evolve without the pain." I know, I know. *sigh*

Marlene Carvell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marlene Carvell said...

Lorie Ann's comment about her children struck a chord. I probably tried too hard to solve my sons' problems when they were little. Actually, I could have used a little of Gemma's magic.