Hello Dear One,
Hereâ€™s a story of friendship and healing to consider:
It was a lovely evening for Lia and Tammyâ€™s nightly walk around the neighborhood. Liaâ€™s recent divorce consumed her thinking that night (and everyÂ nightÂ recently). She didn’t haveÂ much to talk about that didnâ€™t include the â€œweâ€ of her twenty year old marriage. While Tammy listened, Lia raved and ranted about the man and the life she’d left behind, as one does.
Shortly after the women finished their first mile, Tammy stopped to lookÂ directly at Lia. Maybe she was tired of hearing Liaâ€™s story, and maybe she felt it was time for her to move on, but no matter, Tammy asked, â€œSo what are you trying to prove?â€
The answer shot out of Liaâ€™s mouth, â€œI am trying to prove that I am good and he is evil.â€ Surprised, they both laughed.
Certainly such honesty originatedÂ from a real, uncensored place in Liaâ€™s subconscious. As soon as the words spilled out, the truth became clear. No matter how she spun her tale, she was secretly attempting to create a story to justify, to herself and others, the decisions that ledÂ to her divorce.
Our lives get mighty cold, even frozen, whenever there are two sidesâ€”and arenâ€™t there always at least two side? It doesnâ€™t matter if youâ€™re cheering for the football team you love, a political candidate you believe in, or a relationship of any kind; there are opposing points of view of who is â€˜goodâ€™ and who is â€˜evil.â€™
We often form a partnership or marriage because the other is so differentâ€”opposites attract. Yet when time and tide bring change, itâ€™s not unusual to see relationships unravel. The two people/sides seem more like polar opposites, like the North and South Poles, who will never meet, with nothing in common but ice.
Thereâ€™s an interesting paradox about hearing yourself admit whatâ€™s bothering you; once you admit itâ€”you arenâ€™t bothered by it as much. Itâ€™s fortunate thatÂ Tammy was willing to listen to her friend as she talked out her issues. This may be the most valued aspect of friendshipâ€”listening with an open heart!
Liaâ€™s story reminds me of a psychological model fromÂ Human Relations class, the Johari Window, developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955. Have you ever heard of it? The Johari Window usesÂ four quadrants toÂ describe what you know about yourself and what others know about you. If youâ€™re interested in studying more about the Johari Window, the internet is filled with great information.
Imagine a quadrant with each section identified with these areas:
1. Open Area â€” This is the area of information that is known by you and also known by others. Good examples are: you are a man/woman, you live in the United States, you enjoy tennis, you have a degree, and other things you share freely about yourself. No secrets here.
2. Blind Area â€” This is knowledge others haveÂ about you, but you donâ€™t know yourself. A few years ago, I walked on stage at a Toastmaster’s competition wearing a long dress. You might remember how easily the heels of our shoes caughtÂ on thoseÂ hems. Unbeknownst to me, this happened, and so as I walked on the stage, a long dark thread trailed me. As I stood there in the bright lights, the audience could see my train. Thankfully, no one told me until after my presentation. I was blind to this wardrobe malfunction.
3. Hidden Area â€” Other aspects of our lives are known to us,Â but we prefer to keep them hidden from others: financial matters, health concerns, or self-doubts that overwhelm us. Discerning who to trust with our secrets is important. My presentation clients who suffer from apprehension when speaking publicly benefit from watching a recording of their presentation. When they see themselves, they realize that their fears are not as visible to others as they suspect. Feeling confident that they appear calm, theyâ€™re able to â€˜fake it until they become it.â€™
4. Unknown Area â€” This area is something neither you nor others know about you. For example, you may constantly getÂ headaches whenever you get overwhelmed, but no one suspects the mental aspect is causingÂ your physical pain. You mightÂ have an allergy to onions but you and others are unaware. In this case, testing would change the Unknown Area to the Open Area.
Liaâ€™s story is an example of how the Unknown Area of the Jahari Window changed to the Open Area. Because she felt free to talk to her friend and then a professional counselor, she discovered the â€˜whyâ€™ behind her wordsâ€”which uncovered buried issues.
She came to believe that we call people and situations into our lives. We cross paths with some individuals for a reasonâ€”to teach us a lesson. If we pay attention, we may discover that they are not evilÂ at all, but very good for us. Even the crazy-makers, who push our buttons, act as unpaid coaches to challenge us to grow, improve and get rid of those buttons!
Once she took responsibility for her part in the ending of her relationship, Lia began to live on purpose, with a new sense ofÂ self-confidence and trust. Eventually, with enough time and self-exploration, she was able to shorten her divorce story to one sentence: â€œIt didnâ€™t work out.â€
Knowing Lia and witnessing her growth has been an education in living well. The decision to let her frozen attitude go, has made all the difference in her openness to live without regret and to find love again.
What parts of thisÂ story resonate with you? Iâ€™d love to hear your perspective.
May your self-trust build confidence,