Are You Locking People In?
Adam, my neighbour’s kid, is at a perfect age for lengthy chats. I like hanging out with him and by now he feels comfortable enough to tell me just about anything.
The other day he mentioned a girl in his class. From the way he talked about her, I could tell there was ‘interest’.
“Are you going to pursue it?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Nah, we’ve already kissed.”
When he noticed my look of surprise, he added, “She’s kissed a few other boys and they told me that’s all she ever does. She’ll kiss. Once. And then that’s it.”
Right. Only teenagers would see such an A lead to such a B.
“Ehm… what if she’d like to take it further but doesn’t know how?”, I hazarded.
He shrugged. That didn’t seem likely at all.
If only he knew, right?
“Okay. And what if it’s her experience that boys only kiss her once and then they move on?”
Seeing how this was in fact happening, the idea caught his attention.
“Maybe she’s just waiting for the boy to make the next move,” I added. “But of course if he’s now waiting for her to make the next move, you’ll both be waiting a long time!”
He nodded. That made sense.
Of course, I’m not really saying the girl’s been having that kind of experience.
I don’t know her, don’t even know who she is! All I’m saying is that we don’t always know why things happen a certain way.
But that doesn’t stop us from coming up with our own interpretation of events. It’s how we make sense of the world.
But if we start projecting that interpretation onto other people, we lock them into what we expect them to do. And that is actually what they’ll end up doing! Which is why it’s called ‘locking them in’.
And we really are that powerful as creators. The force of our expectations is great indeed!
As a result of this force, others will end up doing what we expect them to do.
And we won’t even see it, we won’t recognize our own part in the exchange. We’ll just see them as ‘doing their thing’, assuming they’re doing it of their own free will.
Yet their true reasons for doing what we expected them to do may not have anything to do with what we’ve been telling ourselves.
Which we’ll never know — unless we bring it out into the open.
Bringing it out into the open doesn’t necessarily mean we have to discuss it with them. Our own awareness of it, bringing it up to our own level of conscious recognition, is enough to break the spell and to unlock someone.
Adam had a party that same evening.
“So, what are you going to do?” I asked him.
He shrugged, but his grin told me he no longer had her locked in at ‘just a kiss’.
This morning I bumped into him just as he was leaving for school.
“Had a good party?” I called as he rode past me on his bike.
He looked at me over his shoulder, beaming, “Fan-bloody-tastic!”