Sometimes I forget that we are all oceans, and I start thinking I need to have my peeps all
I don’t remember where I read it…but I do remember the “ah ha” it sparked in me. It was an article talking about co-dependency recovery (hello me), the author was talking about the dangers of assigning our self as the expert hero of someone else’s story. The distortion in thinking that we are, or could be, the expert on any other human being other than self. As if we would ever begin to know the depths of someone else’s world. Even when we are intimately connected to them. Even if we have known them for a life time, are partnered with them, gave birth to them, or shared countless experiences with them.
Thinking we can wholly understand another’s inner world is like looking at the waves and believing we know the ocean. There is an entire complex world that exists below the surface, for which we couldn’t possibly understand – let alone declare our self the expert of. Even when we put on gear and dive deeper, we’re still only observers with a restricted view and a limited experience.
Damn...It's so important I remember this, because it’s all to easy for me to start tricking myself into thinking I have my people figured out. And I see how that’s so dangerous in my marriage. When I start thinking I have him all figured out it leaves no room for growth, and discovery. I start predicting, projecting, and shutting down what could be, should be, a life time of exploring the mystery. Of being delighted, surprised and changed by what I find…rather than thinking I know all there is to know.
And when I do it with my kids or grandkids, it’s all too easy to slide into being the expert fixer rescuer. That is not only insulting to them, but it robs them of the opportunity to be their own expert, their own hero. And it puts them into a box labeled, “this is who you are”, which makes it harder for them to learn ALL of who they truly are. Lastly, it sucks the mystery and beauty out of being in relationship. Relationships are mirrors where parts of our self are reflected back to us. But when I stay open to discovery and allow my peeps to reveal more of their wondrous complex inner world to me – I discover parts of myself as well. And that’s so much better than cutting myself off from the wonder that lies in both of us – all because I’m trying to be the hero of a world I can never fully know. That I was never meant to be the expert of.
It's still a struggle for me at times. I think it’s so easy for us women to fall into this trap. It’s our job to know our peeps…right? But I’ve learned there is an important difference between paying attention and being a grateful visitor, or thinking we can be the expert hero. I have to remember- there is an ocean inside each of us and the joy in loving is in the exploration, the wonder, and the mystery.
Here’s to less expert-ing and more exploring!