It’s a familiar pattern. Man at the top of his game at work, making the most he will ever make, married to the most beautiful adoring wife, envy of us all decides it’s time to engage in a seedy fling, starts shooting up, embezzles money at work. Beautiful woman happily married, finding success at work, finally a publishing a book, living in a community of friends who adore her and she decides to have an affair with a teenage druggie down the street, decides to quit work, starts to drink, it’s all over.
The reasons given are many:
He’s afraid of responsibility
She wants to sabotage her life because of guilt that it’s going so well
He wasn’t respected enough by his wife
She could never get over harm done to her as a child
His testosterone made him do it
Her hormones were out of whack
And what I say to that is “Why now?” Why didn’t his wife’s disrespect cause him to act this way two years ago? Why didn’t her painful past kick in long ago? His fear of responsibility cause him to steal at work, to use drugs, to cheat before now?
The safest people in the world seem to be unsure of themselves. Awkward teenagers, trying to understand where they sit at the table of life. Young adults struggling to get through college. People at any age who have not made it in life. Aging folks who have lost.. Had their heart broken. Buried a parent. Been abandoned by a spouse. Lost a child to drugs. Lost a job. Been through bankruptcy. 12 step boot camp en route to sobriety. These people unsure of life itself seem to be the ones much less apt to do harsh things to others in their journey up the proverbial ladder. It is my view that the id is most commonly enlarged at prime. At the place in life where things are going the best. I am amazing, I will protect this amazing persona of myself, and others better see me this way. If they don’t I will throw it all away.
Brene Brown’s research shows that wholehearted people, those people who do the best in life, are the ones who embrace their own vulnerability, and with an authentic style of living, share their real selves with others around them. Which really is the best antidote to the Id of Prime. Much different from the need to convince others that I’m OK in my quest to belong, I set out to develop a habitual view on myself starting young that embraces me as flawed and valuable even-though. When I embrace my flaws, and let you know mine, I am inviting you to own and state yours, and together we can care for each other as imperfect, challenging each other along the way, to garnish strength from the other when I need it, which is all the time.
When I am in a state of awkward insecurity, why would I be more authentic and vulnerable? Simply put, in my reaching for answers, I am in the position of teachability. To be teachable is to be vulnerable. I am saying there is something you know that I don’t know. And this makes me much safer than the position of ‘I have all the answers and you should be lucky to be in my presence’.
The self made culture celebrates the exact opposite of teachability and neediness. Regardless of how brazen we are to proclaim ‘I’ve got it’, this is not reality. Like it or not, we are needy. Consider getting through college. Say we earn our way through college by getting good grades, 100% scholarship. Someone in a dark room surrounded by stacks of papers, using red pen, sweat and coffee is also getting you through college. Someone wearing hairnet and gloves is making food in a cafeteria. Someone is cleaning the toilet, furnishing toilet paper to the stalls, applying bleach as needed, lysol, elbow-grease. We are our brothers keepers. We are not islands.
Working in an Emergency Room for 19 years, one dynamic showed itself over and over. Didn’t matter if I was dealing with a brilliant Microsoft manager, a rich elderly banker, a well known pastor or a street drug user. He or she open and vulnerable over time with some close loved ones was the winner. Sometimes the ‘professionals’ were the ones in real trouble. They had face to save, a reputation to maintain. Would rather crack then look like a mess. Every human being goes through crisis. We may think we will skirt crisis by keeping distance, not ‘bothering’ anyone with our problems. Eventually we come to the end of ourselves, and those of us who have been real with others are the ones to get better. On the other hand, isolated we can find ourselves pulled under by relatively small setbacks, because we are lacking skills of teachability, flexibility (able to flex even thought it puts me in a poor light), vulnerability and authenticity.
The id of prime.
An avoidable destruction of me as I practice:
a heart position of reaching toward learning from someone who knows more then me
practice honestly with myself about my weaknesses and deficits
choose to not fake who I am with you
reject the prideful prison of self protection
These practices set us up for deep abiding relationship, whether it be in marriage, with our kids, in the workplace, with our bodies. Id of prime that walks away from it all is walking away from pretend. It’s not walking away from intimacy real and raw and deep. Let the best years of our lives honor The God who knew what I was about and gave the prime of his life for my eternity anyway.