I have long thought about the fact that I can only recognise in others, what already exists in myself. This is notable when I have any emotion arise based on my interaction with others, it’s because of how I feel about it, about them, which is something that I completely own.
Michael Rowland says that these shards of a personality are developed when you are growing up in situations where you weren’t accepted and supported for being a certain way or expressing certain emotions. This makes sense, as a way of coping in society and a way to fit into your immediate social environment. Well meaning relatives likely don’t realise that when they are making fun of a young person that they are impacting them in ways that they cannot fathom in that moment.
For instance, I was always made fun of when I would try to sing when I was younger. My dad in his humours way would say that “you can’t carry a tune, not even in a bucket”. He would say it jokingly and didn’t mean any harm, but by making me a butt of his joke, I took on the false notion that I cannot sing. When I was an adult and took singing lessons, I cried and cried during my very first one. I had so much fear around being able to sing that I froze up and just sobbed. Pretty serious. Thankfully I am not one to shy away from growth or things that I am afraid of, especially if there is no apparent reason, so I continued and it did get easier.
At that stage in life I had surrounded myself with very creative people who were up on stage singing and acting, two things I hadn’t really done in public before. They were living out my unlived life. Steven Pressfield talks about this in his book “The War of Art” and when I read it, I immediately translated it to the reflections that I have always known. How true it is and how often have I been in situations where I see my friends doing something and it sparks a thought inside of myself to either go closer or step away from them. It isn’t about doing what everyone else is doing, it’s just taking notice of what is going on and choosing my actions.
If all the unlived lives I have are around me right now, I would say that my husband in his powerful go-getter position in a forward thinking corporation, is definitely one. I support him and am so happy that he is happy doing it. I am also happy to not live out that kind of life first hand myself anymore. However, when we first met, he was a theatre guy and I did end up getting on stage and performing. I did live out that unlived life and it felt terrifying and strange and I am so glad I did it.
So now, I am just keeping an eye out to see who I am admiring, who I am looking up to, and what unlived lives I am yet to live.