Over some spicy food had a chat with Turtle about some career angst. Turtle had recently started a new job and was killing it. Now the big boss wanted to work directly with Turtle on special projects. What's not to like? The problem was Turtle had been burned in the past by bosses who were great in small doses, but a horror show in firefighting mode. The new boss had a different style than the old boss, but could Turtle trust them? Would encouraging this new dynamic be a disaster? Was there even a choice?
Turtle’s past traumatic experiences were coloring the current situation. When we are deeply disappointed by someone it's typical to react with, "I'll never let this happen to me again."
We talked about Principle #3 of the Connection Counselor's 4 Perspective Principles - REALITY.
We’ve all been let down at some point or another. That’s human. The thing that makes it hurt the most, however, is when we are hurt by those we never imagined would hurt us. In a way, by putting an unrealistic expectation on another person, we set ourselves up for a bigger fall.
"We are all capable of divine beauty and unimaginable horrors."
Or to steal a line from Victoria Aveyard’s the Red Queen, “Anyone can betray anyone.”
It’s not that certain people, say our parents or friends don’t owe us a duty of care or loyalty. And totally disconnecting from others based on fear is tragic and not admirable. It’s about accepting the reality that those who “should” be there for us sometimes will not be and that others who owe us nothing will sometimes surprise us.
Once we accept reality and let go of the entitlement of “should,” the hubris of thinking we are an expert judge of character, and the righteousness of our opinions about correct behavior - the disappointments are less tragic and the surprises are less astounding.
Accepting reality allows us to move forward without the crippling fears of disappointment and to have a more balanced reaction to the unpredictable swells of life.
I don’t know how things will turn out, but I hope Turtle will not allow the past to dictate the future. We have to decide how to live life knowing that we cannot always predict the heroes and villains. Sometimes we will get it right, sometimes we will get it wrong. All we can do is choose the best perspective for ourselves.