Most of us see ourselves as good, kind, compassionate persons. We do not see ourselves as deliberately doing harm to others, particularly those with whom we have some relationship. This is true for the people who come to the office for help with a dilemma that has them at a crossroad of their life. Those who work in the healing professions find this a particularly perplexing quandary.
Even as we care deeply for others in our lives, we are faced with this double bind.
We feel a need to grow.
We want to go where life offers joy, fulfillment and aliveness.
We want to go where our creativity and talents can find an arena of expression.
Most of all, we want to take our lives on a path with meaning, purpose and direction.
Yet, if we are to follow the path of our own development,
We may disappoint others.
We may not live up to the expectations of others.
We may not fulfill the commitments we have made to others
We may even leave others behind.
Notable writers, psychiatrists, and psychologists have written volumes on our needs for "self actualization" or for "individuation". We support and applaud the development of children and adolescents as they grow through stages. We even take for granted they may inadvertently hurt those they love while finding their chosen path. We assume it is all a part of the unfolding of life's drama .
Not so with adults. We assume we as adults should know better. We assume adults will make choices that will no bring disappointment or even pain to those around us. Yet, this dilemma of our needs for creative expression and relationships may require some of the most difficult choices we face.
We as adults, as well as our relationships, need creative growth. Balancing these two may give us growing pains. Piloting our way through such dilemmas with grace requires faith and some guidance.
But, it is the stuff from which wisdom is born.