Relationships: Give and Take

As the words came out of her mouth, I gave her a quizzical look. Did she just say what I think she said? We were talking about my baby turning 5 years old next week and she mentioned that Barbra Streisand sang a song about turning 5.
Um, yeah. I know. I know all about it. You don’t need to tell me about Barbra. I know about Barbra.

The more I thought about that exchange, the more I wondered, how much does she really know me? As my therapist, she knows things about me I wouldn’t share with anyone else. She has truly seen me at my worst. She knows my character, what can set me off and my work ethic. This made me wonder, how much can we really know someone else?

I have many likes and dislikes in relation to many things. How can an other know all of the intricate details of these likes and dislikes? This may be silly and trite but is it really necessary for her to know about my love of Barbra, her music, movies, etc.? Maybe not, but at the same time, it is a piece of who I am. When I drive across state lines on my way to see her, I am belting out a tune by Barbra and am in my favorite place in my head. Is this important information to convey? I think it is.

We cannot fully know someone, can’t walk in her shoes, feel what she feels. What we can do is inform. Provide insights to others in your life and describe your experiences. This is giving a gift to that person in your life. You are trusting that person to hear what you have to share and hopefully reflect back some interest and curiosity.

I think we should remind ourselves that we have these pieces that may not be open to others, even when we assume they are. I made an assumption that after a 20-year relationship that this piece of me was already known, but I was wrong. I don’t view this as a negative thing or a break in our relationship. On the contrary, here is a piece of me that is fun, interesting and entertaining. What a great thing to share with someone years into a relationship, especially when the focus has been on a horrible illness.

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