Life Backstage Tells a Different Story
The other day I was venting to my sister about pressing financial matters.
“I guess I’ll just be working well into my 70’s.”
“You could be like those older ladies I see at Macy’s. They are at least that age and so adorable working there.”
My sister’s tone was genuine, making the delivery of her words sting that much more.
“Great idea! That’s always what I wanted to do late in life.” My voice dripped with sarcasm.
“I think it would be fun.”
Now the gloves were off. Like a water hose finally unplugged, I unleashed my anger her way.
“Fun? How can you say that? Why the hell would I want to work at some meaningless job in retail out of necessity in my 70’s?!”
Behind the Curtain of Anger
My sister hadn’t done anything wrong. The anger I unfairly threw her way stemmed from a genuine fear of which her words had, inadvertently, fanned the flames.
Fear is the backstage entity often cloaked in anger. When we aren’t in alignment with ourselves, the slightest comment or action of another can be perceived as salt on a wound.
My sister had genuinely tried to comfort me. She, of course, could only do this from her own vantage point:
“I’d love to have a job like that someday. My career involves so much responsibility. I can’t imagine not working even after I retire, so doing something in retail part time would be fun.”
Wearing Someone Else’s Shoes Hurts
When we look for comfort from someone else, we need to remember that they:
- only possess their own vantage point
- are not responsible for the other person’s inner alignment
My sister can hear that I’m experiencing a fiscal crisis, but that is not the same as experiencing it. Likewise, I can hear my sister express her potential enjoyment at working in retail later in life, but I can’t make myself share this sentiment.
Asking someone to feel what you are feeling is like shoving your shoe onto someone else’s foot: it’s not going to fit and can be downright painful.
It’s important to know what you are asking for from that person in the first place. My sister was only sharing her thoughts on the idea of working in her 70’s.
But I had never been clear about where I was standing: blazing, unfiltered fear.
Say Where You Are
I hadn’t acknowledged the intense fear and instead danced in front of the figurative curtain with haughty anger.
My attitude had been a defiant “Can you believe this bullshit?” but inside, behind the curtain, I was peeing in my pants.
How could we expect anyone to be there for us emotionally if we don’t tell them where we are emotionally?
Spend Time Backstage
After touring the backstage area of my psyche, I got real with the fear.
When we spend time in the discomfort of fear, acknowledging its presence, and facing it head on, the fear itself dissipates.
The fiscal situation is still there, but my spiritual awareness of the bigger picture has kicked in, and with it, I know that my health is the most invaluable gift there is and not worth sacrificing to the external (and temporary) reality.
Backstage is where fear likes to lurk; it is a stealthy entity, hiding behind anger. But when we face our fear head-on, peeling back the curtain to the what-ifs that plague our psyches, light pours in, leaving no room for fear to hide.