The other day I heard something truly profound.
A man shared how when his wife lost her job when he first got sober, every day when he came home he would ask her some form of “did you get a job yet?”
He thought little of it. He thought what he was doing was fine.
Years later with a half decade of sober living experience and confronted with his wife losing her job again, he reacted differently.
This time he doesn’t ask her anything about the job search. Instead he focuses on being a friend and supportive husband and talking about the other things in their life.
This is because he learned that first time out he wasn’t being supportive at all, in fact quite the opposite. His wife, having spent the whole day looking for work felt terrible she gotten herself in this situation. Having her husband come home only to ask about how the job search was going, well, that didn’t seem very kind or loving. Actually it seemed mean like he was grilling her.
What he learned was he had been projecting his fear on to her the first time. He wasn’t showing much, if any, genuine care for his wife. He was showing her what her being out of work meant to him, not understanding what it meant to her. Because she lost her job, he thought, he might drink!
This is so familiar to me as many times my self-centeredness goes unnoticed and unchecked. Rather than feel real compassion and empathy, I get judgmental and critical. Most regrettably, I do this to the people closest to me.
Just for today I will be aware of my fears and try not to project them onto others!