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Married With Baggage
You are just not all that...and neither am I.
One thing I've noticed over the years, whether it's listening to myself or listening to others is that we all take ourselves just a little too seriously a little too often.
Try this experiment the next time you're out in a crowd. Try not to be too obvious and not to be rude, but listen in on the conversations of others. Really listen.
People love telling other people how they have been slighted, what he said, what she said, how dare they, how could they, THEY THEY THEY.
Funny how it's rarely WE.
We don't say, "I contributed to and was part of a huge traffic jam". We say, with a huff, "I got stuck in traffic" as if we had nothing to do with it. As if there is traffic and there is us and the two are completely unrelated.
What is that? Where did we first learn that? That internal putting on our dukes when we feel misunderstood, slighted, disregarded. That separation of us and the other person.
Couples come into my office and immediately go into defense/attack mode. He did this, she didn't do that. They don't want a therapist, they want a referee. I'm tempted at times to keep a whistle around my neck.
Huge disagreements are spent over minute details of times long gone. "No, it was 3 months ago." "No, it was 4 months ago". "No, you said blah blah blah." "No you said blah blah blah". On and on.
Do you have a video of that time? Did you record it because if you didn't, my guess is you're probably both right and you're probably both wrong.
The stories don't matter, the content doesn't matter. These are just trivial details. Beneath all the words, the anger, the hurt, the pain...underneath all the spit, fire and indignation, are simply people that at the end of the day really don't need that much.
Oh, but we make it so complicated. We all create OUR stories, why we are right, god damn it. There cannot be compromise and there can't be another way to look at it, WE ARE RIGHT!
We have uncanny abilities to make mountains out of molehills and we will fight as if our lives truly depended on it. And after a day of scratching and fighting our way with words, accusations and blames, we try to shake off the unkind words like built up dust and pretend they were never there. But the damage has been done.
We go to dinner and get in deep discussions with our friends. How can war exist? How can there be so much violence in the world? How can this eternal conflict continue in the Middle East?
Yet, if we are honest, there is no peace in our homes, and although there may be no bruises, no scratches, unexpressed violence permeates the air, waiting for us to return like an anxious babysitter wanting to go home.
What is it we want? What is it that we all so desperately search for, desire, long for? And if we had this thing, we'd let go of our end of the rope, call a time out, make love and not war.
My humble opinion: We as human beings want to be seen and we want to be loved. Period. We want connection, we want to be understood. And we are willing to go to hell and back to get it.
Once, in a fight with my husband, I went to a wise mentor and eagerly awaited his response after blurting out my outrage, the unfairness of my husband's recent actions, his insensitivity, his selfishness.
When I was done, feeling victorious at describing what a deeply disturbing situation I was in, I readied myself for his soon to be delivered understanding and his most certain expressions of disbelief and dismay at my husband's actions.
I was sorely disappointed.
"So what?" was all he said.
"Pardon me?" I asked. Surely I had misheard him.
"SO WHAT?" he repeated.
"Excuse me...I don't think you heard me."
It was one of the most profound moments of my life.
I have heard it said that at the end of many people's lives, their regret is not in what they didn't accomplish, what money they didn't make, but in how they wish they had loved more fully and freely.
We are much more interconnected to one another than we are not, and if we could remind ourselves of this simple truth, our lives would be so much less complicated and much more filled with the love and understanding we all so fervently desire.