I have lofty ideas about human interaction. I tend to crave deeper conversation than what you had for dinner last night, how your air conditioner is on the fritz, or that you’re binge watching Game of Thrones. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to listen to all of that, but if our relationship is to have meaning, we’re gonna need to go spelunking to greater depths.
Some of us will, and some of us won’t.
I’ve learned many don’t, or won’t, go there, so I get pretty excited when I find someone who can and will. I get practically giddy when they are enthusiastic about it and we can forge enough trust to have conversations many would find too personal or expose vulnerabilities.
I sometimes have expectations for people along these lines. Especially people I believe I am “supposed” to share a higher quality of relationship with…like family. Shouldn’t they be the ones who want to take a deep dive based on your shared level of love and intimacy?
But about those expectations. I learned decades ago they are just resentments under construction, so having them tends to lead to negative feelings. By having expectations, I create the ideal, dark, murky environment for resentments to grow rich in, so it’s on me. And yet, have them I do, because I enjoy banging my head against the same wall. (In my defense, I do actively work not to have them, or be judgmental or participate actively in a few other shortcomings that like to weasel their way in.)
But I heard The Best Thing in the last seven days that’s made me rethink this idea about folks. I assumed the reason people might not go deep with me—and I refer to people I’m close to, (not just strangers because duh, why would they?)—is because they don’t trust, respect or like me enough to do so or their own comfort level is so low, they avoid getting personal. But maybe it’s because…ready for it?
THAT’S ALL THERE IS.
Maybe they don’t really have deep thoughts or feelings. Maybe shallow waters is where they found their comfort zone and they’re gonna keep wading in it. Maybe they have defense mechanisms learned in childhood. Maybe they’re scarred. Maybe they’re scared. Maybe they’ve never been introspective. Maybe they’re happy on that surface level. Maybe what Jerry Seinfeld once said regarding what men think about (“nothing”) is true. Maybe…truly…that’s all there is.
Just something to think about.
(And remember Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements? They pretty much apply here—and everywhere. 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take any thing personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions and 4) Always do your best.)
A collection of columns, articles and general a-musings.