Pick someone important in your life – a lover, friend, colleague. Your boss. A team member. Brother or sister. Mother or father.
Now look – who are you having them be to you? What image are you projecting their way?
Are you expecting them to take your pain away, to hold you in a perfect embrace (physical or metaphorical) in which you do not have to feel any worry or address any trouble?
Are they an object for your resentment or your hate – propping up your self-esteem each time you belittle them in thought or deed?
Do you have them elevated, on a pedestal, a constant reminder of your own inadequacy (and hence an excuse for the way you over-extend yourself or hold back)?
Are they there to show you that you’re loved and respected always? And when they fall short, to be the target of your frustration and woundedness?
Are you expecting them to parent you? To excuse you? To soothe you? To excite you? To rescue you? To provide for you? To be an object of your scorn? To be a monster or an angel?
And because of all of this, are you relating to them as them, or as an image?
All of this matters because too often we find we’re not in relationship with a person, but with a story. And as stories are smaller and more rigid than people are, it turns out that’s not much of a relationship at all.