No more free passes

My brother once said that, in matters of the heart, it’s better to be with people who see through our bullpucky. Certainly, many of us have behaviors of which we’re completely unconscious.

I, for instance, didn’t know how much I was using my design talent to make others need me. I liked putting people subtly in debt. Don’t we all, some with gifts, others with favors, or compliments, or cooking? And yet, how many of us can see this?

No one, without a “teacher.”

Luckily, I met a great man, Walter, who called my bluff. When I threatened to pull out of a project unless he agreed to my design, he simply replied, “OK, I’ll just find another designer to do it.” He said goodbye, then calmly hung up the phone.

Certainly, I thought, he’ll call back. A day went by. Then another. And with each passing day, something burned inside me. It wasn’t anger… it was resentment! Why did it hurt so much?

It turns out, even if I was right about my graphic opinion, I wasn’t right about my behavior. “Pop” went my bubble, my subtle manipulation technique laid exposed and naked. “Who does he think he is?,” I thought… for weeks, months, a year….

Why, he had destroyed one of my ego’s games… my hidden (to me), underhanded way of getting conditional love!

By sensing my resentfulness – and not bowing to it – he had taken away one of my toys. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He had simply become conscious of that particular game, and chosen not to play it anymore.

We don’t realize how much our games are of a “it-takes-two-to-tango” nature until we meet someone who refuses to dance with us. I’d even say we unconsciously go out of our way to find these people. I know that now.

Eventually, I was very grateful to this man. It takes real courage to allow a combative moment, to risk a loss of friendship. It takes willpower and faith to remain silent… trusting that others will understand… eventually.

It’s true, nobody likes to have their hidden mechanisms exposed. But it’s the only way we grow… as people… as souls.

One toy-quitter at a time!

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