Maybe It’s Time to Look in the Mirror Before We Point Fingers: How Committed Are You to Your Own Personal Growth?
We all want them to be committed. We want our partner, our friends, our kids and our coworkers to all be eternally committed to personal growth. To get some boundaries, to heal the old trauma, and to stop acting out immaturely when God forbid we need to confront them. Yes, we need them to be at least mostly healthy so we can coexist with them and have a modicum of vulnerable connection and emotional safety.
But what about ourselves? Are we on the road to healthier, steadfastly learning, growing and changing on most days? Or are we “cured” and don’t need to do anymore work on ourselves. Now to be fair, usually when I hear this from clients it’s because they HAVE been doing the work – alone – for quite awhile and want to sit down for a bit. I tell them they may need to rest a bit and validate they have been doing their part. However, there’s always more to change and get better at, so don’t sit for too long. Often the other person can outgrow YOU if they really get on board with the work.
We may not want to admit it, but we often think we are holier and healthier than the other, and have blinds spots we aren’t willing to uncover, especially when they are compared to THEIR awful behavior and/or treatment of you. Although perhaps technically that may be true – that your nitpicking and enabling behaviors may look like caring and being responsible on the surface, but are controlling and not loving at the end of the day. Their dumpster fire may be egregious in comparison, but we still need to look at how we can be part of the problem.
One thing I suggest clients do is first write out their non-negotiables they need in the other person to feel sane, such as boundaries, decent self-esteem, taking responsibility and demonstrating empathy. Then, I ask them to look at that list and see how they are doing on these things. Is there still more work to do? What is their plan? This list should be a mirror, and guide to help keep ourselves on track, which is a good thing. When the other finally gets going on their work, they WILL eventually look at you and need healthier from YOU. It’s math. And it’s pretty much the same equation for all of us.