Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Please Move Off Center Stage

Sometimes it's all about you. It's your birthday,your wedding,your graduation day,celebrating your career milestone,a new job,or a key success. Maybe it's about you because you are seriously ill, have a family member dying, are ending a love relationship or marriage,or struggling through some other significant loss,and you need support. It's okay to need and/or want to be center stage at these times and ask those close to you to give you special support and consideration.It's appropriate and normal to want to be on center stage at defining moments like these,where your needs take precedence for a while.I enjoy helping couples and families rally together at celebratory times and difficult times.Bonding together at these times defines close,meaningful relationships and families.

Sometimes it's really NOT about you,and you need to move away from center stage and sit in the balcony with the supporting cast. You need to transcend selfishness and narcissism,and suit up and do was is needed to support the other people in your life. It is one of their moments to take the stage. When another person you are close to is celebrating a key accomplishment,or suffering a loss, it is poor form and bad sportsmanship to demand center stage for yourself.Relationships are a team sport. Being able to empathize,nourish,and be there for others in a genuine way is a critically important relational skill.

Narcissists cannot be flexible and adapt to changing needs.They feel so starved for attention at all times that they feel threatened by anybody else getting a turn on center stage. Healthy,adaptive individuals realize that while being center stage feels good,being mature enough to sit in the balcony and cheer on other family members is pretty wonderful,too.Strong families and functional people take turns,and don't hog the spotlight.They understand that intimacy is about not only taking,but being needed and having something to give back to others in a reciprocal fashion.

Move out of center stage this week,and observe what happens.There may be some quiet people that need a turn.Surrender the demand,the control and the attention,and offer someone else a chance.Being a good audience is a really important role,too.What good is a play with an empty theatre?

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