Now and then in moments of frustration, you might ask: Do you even see me?
It’s a legitimate question!
Especially in intimate partnerships because as we get to know people and spend time with them, we may not feel fully seen.
It’s also possible that we may not see others as they really are.
Instead, we may see them for who we would like them to be. Inevitably, they fall short.
Yes, it’s hard to acknowledge that we judge people against some abstract vision we hold in our head; some idealized version of who we want them to be.
It’s unconscious…and happens often…sometimes at the speed of light.
Typically, this is when we start “should-ing”…
When we see people through the lens of “should”, there will always be lack.
The message we give is:
Not quite right…
A disappointment of sorts…
Not quite good enough…
This can apply to just about anyone…an intimate partner, a special friend or colleague.
Sometimes we “should” even on ourselves!
When we see human beings against an ideal of what we think they ‘should’ be, it’s impossible to see them for who they are.
We rarely allow people the space to be who they are and to express themselves fully.
There’s almost always some kind of thinking…a commentary in the background.
We react with impatience, throw an internal eye-roll their way, then defend and judge.
Rarely are we curious about who they are, what they say or the way they say it.
This background commentary in our heads is powerful and disruptive for both parties.
It fragments connection and gets in the way of relating.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not advocating ‘anything goes.’ Or that anyone tolerate the intolerable.
What I am advocating…is that everyone is responsible for the emotional labor it takes to be in a great relationship.
So, just for today, let go of the commentary.
Drop the eye-roll and breathe. Then watch what happens next.
It may not last long, but how you experience yourself…and the other person…is going to change in that moment.