The other day during  a lesson I gave it suddenly hit me:
my student laughs at my subtle jests out of habit and courtesy
not because he truly enjoys my customary antics
but because that’s how it has been set up from the get go,
I noticed a tinge of annoyance on his part and I saw it in a flash:

the role I play in some people’s life is the same role some people play in mine

it suddenly clicked that deep down he may actually resent me for feeling being pushed, expected to react in a certain manner.. the same way I resent others for feeling being manipulated to humor them (or failing to do so give them reason to dislike me)

also, I understood: the subliminal resentment he may very well harbor towards me had nothing to do with me but everything to do with him, he is infected, say, by the virus, the compulsion to please and it is ailing him and he will continue to be suffering from it until the day he sees through it

of course, quite poetically, the moment this insight graced me happened as I was observing my own compensatory behaviors during the lesson. By keeping a stronger frame or poise than usual I felt a continuous tug, a compulsion to relieve any tension that has arisen in our interaction (which, again, was due to slightly violating the co-created role I have assumed from the start of our sessions), rather than being easy-going and chatty I let some pressure weigh on him so that he could work things out for himself, I gave lots of space, in other words, I wasn’t focusing on me (delivering, proving, convincing, impressing, etc.), rather I was  focusing on him. And then A-ha! noticing the extent of my compulsive behavior to please by simply relaxing through it I have discovered it being mirrored back at me right in front of me

The role I play for some people is the very same role some people play for me.



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