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Thursday, May 6, 2010

First to Fall

A while back I was having a conversation with a young man attending a conference with his dad. Over the course of the two or three days, I noticed a certain discomfort or awkwardness between the two.

I began to craft the story that both the father and son were waiting for something to happen in their relationship. Perhaps they were waiting for the other to do something, to take some sort of step forward toward the other. It was like I was watching this unspoken game of “who will be the first to fall?” being played out.

“First to fall?” You know, the first to go vulnerable. To speak their truth. To state a desire in the relationship. Without a stated desire on the table it was just a game of wait and see. Of looking to the other person to take responsibility for the relationship.

“What would it look like for you to take 100% responsibility for your part in this relationship? “ I asked him.

“Well, I’d have to get clear on what I want first. Then I suppose I could take responsibility for that.”

Huh.

It seems to me that there is 200% responsibility in every relationship. I own 100% responsibility for my part and you own 100% responsibility for your part. I can’t own your part and I can’t control you… all I can do is own 100% of my part in the relationship.

When I look to someone else to define or create the relationship I desire, I give up the power to own and define my own life. Better to get clear and ask for what I want… recognizing that I don’t always get what I want. And, sometimes, I do.