Yesterday I posted about how guiding visions provide context that changes the way our words are heard. Today I have an example.
Feeling let down
Angela is my assistant, and she proofs my blog. But she’s much more than that. She is one of two people on the planet who have a deep understanding of what I’m up to, what I aspire to, and how I operate. Plus, she lives in her heart. She is my traveling buddy. I am blessed to have her.
So why was I disappointed in her last night?
Because she proofed a blog post without a comment. Horrors! 😉
Now, when I say I was disappointed in her, that sounds critical. It sounds like I think she did something wrong. It sounds like she let me down. Yes, I FELT let down. That was my experiential reality. Yet I knew without question that in objective reality, she hadn’t actually let me down.
We all have experiential and objective realities coexisting in us. That can make conversations about interpersonal issues challenging. What do you do when you feel disappointed, offended, angry, and/or a myriad of other emotions and yet you also know the other person did nothing wrong?
Confessions of a recovering passive
As a recovering passive, I am also a recovering victim and recovering passive-aggressive. So I’m a bit of an expert on victim mindsets and behaviors and passive-aggressive behaviors. Victim thinking nurtures wounds and builds self-righteous cases against perceived villains for their imagined (or exaggerated) wrongs. Passive-aggressive punish others indirectly, in ways where the aggressor can hide behind a posture of innocence. By doing that, they protect themselves from facing the smallness of their story, BUT they also miss the opportunity to transform an immature reaction into an opportunity to reach higher levels.
As a recovering passive, I am reluctant to admit when I still feel the residuals of this kind of thinking – but choose to feed the larger story. I am also reluctant to admit those feelings to my readers – you. I’m doing it anyway, because I believe my process here is actually both normal, and the way, or a way, that transformation happens.
I saw my psychological/experienced reality as a signal that I had a desire that wasn’t being met. I turned it into an opportunity to figure out what I wanted so Angela and I could set a target together. My disappointment was a small story which opened the door to find the bigger story.
The bigger reality
Half the population can correct typos. Only Angela can bring out the best in me and my writing as she does. Only Angela can mirror where I am in a way that helps me move closer to where I’m going. Only Angela can remind me of the bigger context of what I’m working on when I falter in my own vision of it. So only Angela can review my blog posts with her eye and ear and catalyze my excellence like she does.
What would be likely to happen, if, consciously or unconsciously, I ask Angela to review my posts wanting her to bring out the best in me, and she thinks I’m inviting her mainly to correct typos?
Disappointment. Not because Angela is deficient, but because she is so important to me. And that speaks to her gifts. That is what we needed to talk about. We needed a shared vision of her role. Then, we could consider options to facilitate her newly defined role, like my creating posts with a longer lead time, or structuring discussion of them into our morning meetings.
We could have created those options without the shared vision. But it’s much more rewarding this way.