Are You a Chapter or a Co-Author in Someone Else's Story?
Updated: Mar 13
It can be challenging to look at life this way, because it narrows in our focus from the hyper distraction that so easily finds us in today's age, to a quite real possibility. Are you a chapter or a co-author in someone else's story?
When you begin a relationship, regardless of where it might start, and the ending you may or may not already have in mind... the possibility, the hope, the adventure is exciting. It's wired into us. So in a sense, it can be heartbreaking to look at the mirror that shows you when you might be outgrowing a friendship, a relationship, or even a family member. It's a social catastrophe.
We were wired to optimize for belonging. Our brain and our body's very circuitry were built to make sure we build and maintain relationships. We hold things together "when the going gets tough". We even gaslight ourselves sometimes, and question if we've been "a good friend".
When they call, you answer. And if you don't, there's an angsty feeling that bubbles up as the days move forward and you still have yet to return their bid. It's the reason why (Alan and I swear that) Apple refuses to put an "unread" blue dot next to those text messages, and why studies show those red badge icons on your phone's screen suck you into the vortex and easily have you addicted. It's why outgrowing old friends is, well, extraordinarily hard.
If we're outgrowing our friends, then what?
If we're not loved the way we were initially, what does that mean for us?
If we're growing, and they're not, then what? Where do we go from here?
What we've found is that the pen will always be in your hand.
You choose to write your story. Who in your life comes, and goes, gets stuck, or grows and your affiliation with them is entirely up to you. The meaning you give your growth journey can make you feel empowered or distraught.
One thing we know for sure that can lighten the load:
The quality of your life will be determined by the meaning you give to your relationships. And equally, the meaning you release from them.
It's easy to spend your time ruminating in a dark cloud of the heaviness that can come with being growth-oriented. You don't feel understood, seen, valued, appreciated, cared for, or even recognized for all the muck you're trekking through to be a better human.
Ironically, you're doing that to better the world and the people around you (including whoever might be feeling like an anchor to you right now or gaslighting you). Why? Because it will trigger that part of your brain to say to you, "Go back! Go recover that relationship. That friendship. You two both have shared so much together," yet will fail to recognize their lack of growth.
I explain the story of the crabs in a bucket in coaching calls often, which is such a tough visual to handle, but deeply powerful.
You can be the crab in the bucket that pulls down those who are trying to get out, or the one who is trying to crawl out. Never both.
"Misaligned people misalign people." Alan and I say often. When you're growing, and at a rapid rate at that, there will be people you will outgrow. Period. It is your responsibility to work yourself compassionately through that healing journey, surround yourself with others, like The Conscious Couples Community who are going through it too, and understand that those who you may be outgrowing - if they're going to help you co-author your story, rather than just there to stick around for one chapter, they will eventually come. The keyword, here, is eventually.
Most times, what we've found is that the social pain of the distance of you growing and outgrowing them is exactly what they've been waiting for (in your friendship) unconsciously, all along.
- Emilia & Alan
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@EvolvewithEmilia | @Alazaros88