This message is only for a rare few of you. Or maybe a rare part in all of us that often goes untapped. It is a message about our capacity to stay connected even when others around us are disconnected. It is a reminder that we don’t need to give our attention to where something is not flowing, because whatever prevents flow also causes it to build up and flow around.
I say this because sometimes when you’re around someone who’s not in a good mood, it’s easy to try to get them to change their mood. And if you fail to change it, it’s easy to get frustrated and end up joining them — when maybe their mood never needed changing in the first place.
It is you who wants to know all is well even when they’re professing the opposite. It is you who wants to feel empowered even amongst their example of futility. It is you who wants to soothe even when the pain is not yours.
A spring filling up a lake has just as much flow as that same water traveling down a river. So maybe when someone appears to be stuck, they’re really just building up. Building up the clarity that will breed confidence. Building up the desire that will create change. Building up the wisdom to let go.
And you can know this, before they show this. You can be one of the rare few who believed in them all along.
My girlfriend and I had been fighting — the frustrating kind, that doesn’t really get anywhere in the moment but stokes your desires for change even more — but we had errands to run that had to be done in the next few hours. I knew we had to switch gears from fighting with each other to working together, but I figured if I brought up the errands she would just argue with me more.
I was much more agitated than she was, but ready to get over it if I could just find a way of interacting with her that wouldn’t piss me off even more. So I started running scenarios through my head until I found an approach that allowed me to broach the subject in a way that would break our current pattern and yield the result I was looking for.
Me: “I don’t think we should run any errands until you’re in a good mood.”
Her: “I am in a good mood. I was in a good mood before you even asked that!”
Me: “I never said you were in a bad mood.”
Her: “–Yes you did!”
Me: “I just phrased my question in a way that would cause you to think I thought you were in a bad mood, so that you would start arguing for how good of a mood you’re in.”
Her: “I’m not arguing.”
Me: “And since I knew you were going to argue with whatever I brought up, I might as well get you to argue for something that I want too.”
Her: “So you were trying to manipulate me?”
Me: “I was manipulating my own expectations.”
Her: “Yes. YOU’RE expectations. That’s what’s been causing this all along.”
Me: “And I did a great job of manipulating them!”
Her: “Yes! You did do a great job of that!”
[click to continue…]