From late 30 to 60s is your midlife. In midlife the weight of the armour is too heavy. The armour is keeping you from being seen by others. This is when the universe is saying “I am not stuffing around, you are halfway to being dead”. This is not a crisis, this is a slow unravelling of your life. Things are falling apart.
There are three responses
First, “Bring it on” or “I will tackle everything head on” but this is a nightmare situation. You cannot survive everything that life will throw at you. There is a lot of pooh that will be thrown at you and this will overwhelm you.
Second, you can avoid it. These people cause so much pain in the world. It is so much easier to off load pain than to accept and live pain. These people hurt others.
Third, we should not pull off all of your armour. Being very curious about the world being open with what the world will throw at me. Curiosity is really the superpower. Curiosity keeps us learning and increases our self-awareness.
When you walk into a situation in a business where the CEO and a person who is pissed off with each other all the time. This is like the end of a rock band. In this situation there is a lot of trauma. Trauma for people who has been abused. Trauma for people who live on the margins. Trauma where people have hurt each other. There are different levels of trauma. The sub conscious message in our body is “you take this trauma off we will die”.
This is a pandoras box. But, do you think you are living inside or outside pandoras box?
People ask themselves the question “I don’t know if I am ready to open pandoras box”? However, people will need to deal with pandoras box even though they want to ignore this. We either deal with it head on or want to have it ooze out of the corners as we try and avoid it. You are dealing with it either way. The Psychologist Carl Jung once said “Keep your shadows in front of you as the shadows can only take you down from your behind”.
Emotion and cognition undefined and unexplored make every decision you make. You either develop self-awareness or these things will control you. This can be terrifying. But rarely do friends say “I am shocked to hear this when the reveal comes out”. Your whole life has been defined by this.Life is messy and it can be terrifying. But changes do not need to take 20 or 30 years. Changes can be brought about with the right tools. We need others to be a mirror. Each of us have stuff or shadows.
Do we set time with another person, maybe a partner or significant friend. First, we tell the other what we are doing well and then talk about what we are doing well and third, talk about what we would like more of. In this format we can begin to spot patterns or shadows which we individually might miss. If we do this every week or every second week we see these patterns.
When X, Y or Z happens we often shove off topics or questions which most challenge us. When you are more curious, when the other helps you to be more aware of the things you are missing, you realise you do not need to go through life with a blindfold on. Once you are more aware because of what the other mirrors for you allows you to be more freer and experiment more not confined by your shadow.
Initially, we put off sharing our deeper selves with the other like we put off having a mammogram or prostate test. There is fear which builds up with this shared encounter and a level of pooh we create around the fear. But when you have the shared encounter, you realised the fear leading up to this was so much worse than what it actually is. It will hurt, but it is not to the degree that you project inside yourself. This can be a hard thing. But are we willing to keep showing up?
We need to wait until we are in a good place to have a shared encounter. We do not want to use shame or put down which leaves marks. When we are attacked we can come out mean and defensive.
The other two tools apart from showing up and being transparent in a shared encounter.
In a relationship it is never 50 to 50. Sometimes when we come home we might feel like we sick or run down and we only have 20% to give. Hopefully, in a relationship the other person can pick up the 80% slack. But if they cannot reach 100%, the couple needs to sit down together and work out, how are we going to get through this. Marriage is never 50 to 50. Marriage is a partnership when you can carry their 20% or they can carry your 20%. When you both only have 20%, thus 40%, what is your plan to get through?
Such as instead of cooking dinner rather order out or cancel any event which is not critical. Couples need to learn how they create a buffer in the system. We need to negotiate. Maybe we need to skip sporting practise just to get through.
Third, In families there are three types. “1 - Kid focused families”, “2 - Parent focused families” and 3 - Family focused families”. A family focused family means if an individual has goals like sport, then that goal must brought to the family. If we have increased work demands, more work, this does not take precedence, rather all decisions are part of the family from which we serve. It is not the parents or the kids cost, it is the family cost.
When we all come to the table, it is not all equal. Parents can still be the dictator, why because they are parent. When the child is old enough, say 18, they have more say. Family focused families talk about everything, but the parents have veto power. Veto power means if a kid or the other parent says, “I want to do this”, the parents says “no”. We need to respect the Veto power.
As parents, the best we can do is a loving course from compliance to commitment. When a parent says, “you should not be watching that TV show” or “you should not be playing that computer game”, kids need to comply. There are natural consequences.
But when the child 14, it is critical we explain why. So that when the 14 year old is at a friends house and the friends decide to watch an R Rated show, the child knows “my parents are not cool with this and this is why”. Kids move to a commitment to family values when the parents say yes when they can.
When families sit down and decide the choices such as extracurricular. Kids can make decisions, but there are limits which the family sets. Such as you can do 2 extracurriculars and this is why. There needs to be balance. Kids must not have the pressure to perform get 99% in their ATAR. There is nothing wrong with not going to university at 18. It is important that young adult gets a service job. Where they are making a difference in the community. Like volunteering at 18.