Someone once said that man keeps looking for truth that fits his reality. Oddly, more often than looking for truth, we tend to make up our own truths. Meet Roger & Elaine. Roger is attracted to Elaine and asks her out. She accepts; they have a good time. Later, he asks her out again, and again they enjoy themselves. After a while neither one of them is seeing anyone else.
One evening on the way home, a thought occurs to Elaine. She says, “do you realize that we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?” Silence. I wonder if that bothered him? Maybe he feels confined.
Maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him, Elaine thinks.
Roger, meanwhile, thinks, “six months?”
Elaine’s thoughts continue. But I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. I wish I had more space, time to think about where we are going. Are we just going to keep seeing each other like this? Marriage? Children? Am I ready? Do I even know him?
Roger’s thoughts are a little different: so that means . . . let’s see…February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means I’m…Whoa! Way overdue for an oil change!
“He’s upset, ” muses Elaine, “It’s on his face. ” He wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. She gasps, mentally. He’s afraid of being rejected! “And they are going to look at the transmission again, it’s still not shifting right. They better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. I can’t believe it cost $600. I’ll bet. . . ”
He’s angry - I don’t blame him. I’d be angry too. I feel so guilty for putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure if. . .
“They’ll say it’s only a 90 day warranty. I’ll bet they’ll tell me. . . ”
I’m too idealistic, waiting for a knight on a white horse. I’m sitting beside a perfectly good person. I enjoy being with Roger, I care about him. . . he cares about me. And now he’s in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic. . .
“Warranty? I’ll tell them what to do with their warranty. They can-”
“Roger, ” says Elaine, interupting Roger’s mental tirade.
“Huh?” Says Roger, startled.
“Please don’t torture yourself, ” she says, her eyes beginning to mist. “Maybe I should never have…. . oh, I feel so awful…” Roger stays silent, but one eyebrow lifts slightly in puzzlement.
“I’m such a fool, ” Elaine sobs, “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that’s silly. There’s no knight and no horse. ”
“No horse?” Roger’s eyebrow rises another quarter inch.
“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?”
“No!” Says Roger, relieved.
“I need time, ” Elaine says.
“Yes, ” he says, after a brief pause. Elaine, moved, reaches to touch his hand.
“Oh Roger, do you really feel that way about me?”
“Yes indeed, ” says Roger hesitantly.
“Thank you, Roger, ” She says.
“ Thank you, ” says Roger.
The next day, Elaine calls her best friend. Together they analyze the whole scenario in a marathon two hour conversation. A few days later, Roger plays racquetball with a mutual friend of their’s. He pauses before serving and asks, “did Elaine ever own a horse?”
The ways that we see ourselves and the world at large is a function of the “stories” that we make up.
We need to challenge our views on things. After doing this, a whole new set of opportunities may emerge. Our stories lurk in the strangest places!
Eric Johnson is a regular contributor to the Investor's Value View Newsletter. To learn how to contact Mr. Johnson or to subscribe to the Investor's Value View Newsletter, visit http://www.valueview.net