“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.”
I’ve been hearing and reading an awful lot of people lately expressing surprise over how messed up things seem to be right now. Costs are going up, customer service has become a weird sort of wrestling match with perspective and reality, tempers are short and people are rude. We appear to be hobbling uneasily into 2024.
I think it’s fair to say that we are at some point of a cultural transition, and that we won’t have much helpful perspective on it until we are some 10 or more years past it. Right now it just feels like unsettled chaos on many fronts.
Where Are My Princess Bride Fans At?
There is a scene in the cult classic movie, The Princess Bride, that comes to my mind often at times like this. Inigo Montoya is toasted drunk, sitting in the Thieves’ Forest, refusing to be removed. When a soldier tries to demand he leave, Inigo tells the guard that the guy who hired him, (Vizzini) told him that if the job goes wrong he should go back to the beginning. He’s sitting on the spot where Vizzini first hired him, so that’s the beginning. He’s not going anywhere, because he is waiting for Vizzini.
This is an approach that I take a lot – Not the getting drunk and stubborn part, but the going back to the beginning when everything seems to have gone wrong, part.
Waiting for Vizzini
Life sometimes seems to yank us in confusing directions. People around us hold all kinds of agendas that have nothing to do with us, or our best interests. If we respond to all of that yanking it can leave us exhausted, confused and sometimes angry. As I always say, anger tells us something needs to change. The “something” in this case, is going along with other people’s chaos.
Refusing all shoulds, have to’s and musts, is a great start. This clears the clutter of other people’s intrusive expectations and demands. What are your priorities in the situation? What are you trying to accomplish? Is the goal worth the effort?
I find that people are often afraid to trust themselves because they believe that given the option, they will be horribly selfish humans. I think this comes out of childhood and those stages of development where we lose track of our place as a special person in the community where each person brings something uniquely valuable. Unless an adult is developmentally stuck at one of those other stages, we will not revert to that kind of thinking.
The bigger truth is that when we choose what is healthiest and best for us, it will be healthiest and best for those around us, even if they don’t like it, or if our truth causes disruptions. When truth causes a disruption, it is a necessary disruption: Something that has been glossed over is out of balance and needs attention. Doing what is healthiest for us is therefore anything but selfish.
The What and the How
Mind you, this isn’t license to deliver our truths in harsh, thoughtless, disrespectful or careless ways. (You might want to read or listen to this blog about communicating difficult things well.) The importance of what you are trying to communicate does not supersede the importance of how you communicate it. At the same time, struggling with “the How” isn’t an excuse to withhold “the What.” Speak your truth, with respect and care.
As we enter a new year, I encourage you to breathe your way through the things that are out of kilter, and focus on doing “now” as well as you can. If you do this “now” well, it will be the best thing you could have done for the next now and the next and so on. When it all starts to feel crazy and weird, go back to the beginning. Wait for your Vizzini. Trust what you hear from inside.
You’ve got this.
If you’d like help working it out, contact Tiffany today. I’m happy to help anyway I can.