Like most unmarried young adults in my age bracket, I have a list of the things that I want in a significant other. Over the years this list has evolved from a paragraph to four pages single spaced in Times New Roman font. The list has been influenced by many things including past experiences, the observation of relationships and marriages, and the couples I’ve seen in therapy. It’s updated each year and undergoes a makeover with new details and ideas of what would be best. The thing about growing older is that it’s easier to become more set in your ways. As a result of this, the list of things you don’t want to put up with becomes longer and longer. There’s less room for flexibility because you feel like you’re on a countdown and you don’t want to have to try it multiple times to get it right. There’s less patience and a more purposeful intent. So the list sits there. Collecting dust on the hard drive of my computer. The funny thing is that while I rarely take the time to refer back to it, I still know and remember what it contains. The challenge with making such a list is that you have to leave room for reality. No one is going to be perfect and that’s something that I’ve always taken into consideration. Rules that were absolutes have not become preferences instead of deal breakers. Of course there’s the basics; love, respect, won’t beat me black and blue, and can be assertive. But then there are other things that would just make life easier in the long run. Everyone doesn’t come from a traditional two parent home and while that might make life a bit easier, it’s not something that I expect. The great thing about the list is that it lets you make decisions about people pretty easily. You can cut out a lot of unnecessary drama and save yourself heartbreak and time because you cut them off at the beginning because they didn’t meet criteria. One double edged sword in my case is that I’ve met my list. An individual who embodies all four pages single spaced of expectations, criteria, and preferences. Which, by the way, is not an easy feat. While I would never go as far to say that this person is the embodiment of perfection, I will say that they have some core character traits that align perfectly with the list. It’s been one thing to meet the list and another thing to interact with the list and have conversations. Does The List know that they are the list? No. And the jury is still out on whether or not they’ll ever get that information. However, maybe that’s the nature of the list. The fear of messing up a perfect fantasy with an imperfect reality that results in the admiration from a distance without action.
I’ve always been a person who has had respect for people in power. I also think that it’s possible to have power without being in a position of power. In our world, many times power comes with money. The more money someone has, the more their opinion or perspective is respected. Because of this power, they can also influence others to a great extent. Power can also come from the set of initials behind or before your name. Initials like “M.D.” “J.D.” or “PhD” are generally more respected than “B.A.” “B.S.” or “M.A.” A few weeks ago I received a professional license that I’ve worked toward for the past 6 years. Along with credibility, one of the things that this license allows me to do is to sign a piece of paper that can hospitalize a person involuntarily for a certain period of time for evaluation. While there are certain parameters and guidelines that dictate when this option is appropriate, I get the opportunity to use my clinical judgment to see if those guidelines are met and I sign a piece of paper that can turn someone’s life upside down. My decision affects a lot of people including parents whose child is being taken out of their custody. Family members, friends and other people involved are all entities who can be impacted by the decision that I made. The thing about power is that it can be used as a means for good or for evil. It’s not a bad thing in itself, but it can be misused and mishandled. This can be especially true when people who are insecure are given an extremely large amount of power. All their decisions are made through the lens of their own self-identified deficiencies and the results are usually disastrous. I think that this is one of the reasons why it’s important to know who you are because power will only magnify your true character and your flaws or strengths will be showcased in your decisions.
I think that there are two types of observers in the world. The silent observers and the doer observers. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out which one I am. Silent observers hate being the center of attention while doer are more about actions and don’t care about being the center of attention as long as they are doing something. Being a silent observer, I like observing from a distance but I’m not chomping at the bit to act unless I’m fairly competent in coming to a solution. I’ve never seen the logic in going to help a situation that I know nothing about. Doer observers are more spontaneous because they see and then act. This can happen regardless of whether or not they are qualified or competent. They want to help so they jump in. It’s always interesting seeing this particular character trait in action. It lends itself to the dramatic as opposed to the silent observer. Both of these personalities are observers but they function differently and they see things in a different light. Paying attention to detail and being observant manifests in different ways to different people. And that’s a good thing.