Do you ever feel drained and you don’t quite understand why? Why do we expect other people to read our minds, as if they had a crystal ball that allowed them to see into our psyche oh-so-well? Sometimes we feel drained when we give too much of ourselves. Dr. Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy speaks about this extensively. Dr. Boszormenyi-Nagy was a Hungarian-born physician who was the founder of contextual family therapy. He believed that if we are able to treat each other with fairness, and are able to balance what we give to others and allow ourselves to receive from others, that many psychological concerns will be reduced. This is making it as unassuming as it can be, but the theory is much simpler than the practice.
Sure, it’s easy enough to hear someone say, “You do a lot for me, allow me to do something nice for you!” What if the person on the receiving end does not feel worthy of this generosity? What if they feel like they are owed too much? It is easy to say that everyone has ideas of giving and receiving, of how we should give and receive love from each other.
Esther Perel speaks of the nature of how human beings, specifically couples, show love to one another. She says that most people love another person the way they themselves want to be loved. I’m sure that you’re familiar with this- when someone gives you a gift you may not like, but rather something they like; or someone decides to spend a lot of time with you when you would rather be alone. While it is easy to say these things, putting them into practice is much harder. For instance, we know that we should not eat things that are bad for us, like eating that chocolate-glazed donut at work, or drinking too much coffee. We don’t usually stop the things that hurt us until life gives us a stop sign, not just a red flag.
In other words, slow down, pay attention to what is going on around you. Pay attention to what is not being said, and pay attention to the good things rather than the things that are missing. It may just surprise you.