Take a moment to think about something with me. Have you ever watched a movie, and had such a strong reaction to an actor as s/he portrays a particular character, that henceforth and forever more, that character IS that person?!?? Allow me to give you an example. The Color Purple is one of my all-time favorite movie and if you've seen it, you know exactly who the character, Mister, is. Well, for years, and I do mean years after watching the movie, Danny Glover was Mister. And in any movie I watched that he was in, he was still Mister. Beloved, Shooter, whatever the movie, all I saw was Mister. In fact, I think that's why it took me so long to watch the Lethal Weapon series lbvs! That's crazy right? To be unable to separate a person from a character, even when it's someone else, a totally different character, part, and/or role. But we do it all the time, and not just when it comes to actors. It's a very interesting phenomenon, at least to me it is. Perhaps I'm the only one that does this so I won't lump you in with me!
I think about the numerous relationships I've been in, even friendships that I've been a part of, where I couldn't separate a previous "character" from a new "role". When I consider my life, I can honestly say I've thought the following. Because that other guy cheated on me, this guy is probably going to do that as well, because you know, all men are dogs. Because that one friend betrayed me, I better not get too close to this chick because women can't be trusted. Because my dad abandoned and rejected me, anyone representing a father figure is immediately suspect because you're just going to leave me eventually anyway. I better not get too comfortable, I better not trust or let my guard down, because "Mister" or the one (or two, or five) characters before this one misrepresented what the situation should look like and it is now seared in my head and heart, and I can not separate past from present, perceived from reality. Or maybe they did represent themselves accurately, and now I'M projecting my previous experience onto the new person. Either way, it's a super unfair situation, especially for the new person right?!
As I thought about this phenomenon, I realized that I (and maybe you) have to recognize that, what we see is what we get. The person/people we're dealing with are who they are, not the old/other person. We owe it to them, and ourselves, to respond to them for who they actually are and what they have (and haven't) done. Imagine how different our interactions and lives might be if we actually believed that and acted on it? Is this an area of improvement for you? Did you conquer this challenge? What did you do to overcome it? What can you do now that you realize what you're doing? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Be blessed, Dr. S #BeYourBestYou
P.S. Part 2 of "Some Things Take Time" comes out tomorrow!! Need to catch up? Click here to read part 1.