Sometimes we do things because we know we ought to do them whether it is a social norm or it’s just “the right thing.” Some of us live our lives more according to these principles than others. Is it being more in tune with the world around us? Is it a learned behavior? Is because we would feel guilty so we save ourselves the cognitive dissonance? Or is just because we are able to make sound judgments and we are good people?
So what am I really talking about?
I’ve always been a giver and put others before me. This is my normal. I am a middle child who acted like a mom to my younger sister. I have 16 youngers cousins (just on my mom’s side) and I served as the built-in babysitter. And now I work in a helping profession as an occupational therapist. All of my friends come to me with their problems because they know I will listen and provide support. It is definitely a part of my identity.
There’s a theory?
I don’t like talking about myself; it’s something I’ve worked on. Maybe, this is why I am bad at dating, but that’s for another time.
There is this theory I learned while studying communications. I don’t remember the name or exactness of it, but it discussed the concept of self-disclosure. Not only are you more likely to create a bond with another if you self-disclose personal information, but the relationship cannot grow unless both parties are relatively self-disclosing the same amount of information at the same rate.
We’ve all had the experience of having first contact with someone and he or she decides to tell you his or her whole life story before you even exchange names. This rarely leads to a lasting relationship.
I went a little off topic here, because who doesn’t love a little self disclosure theory?
The Heart of the Matter
I recently flew back home to Chicago to visit my family and attend a course. The night before I to fly back to Los Angeles, I casually asked my sister if she could drive me to the airport. My sister who I often refer to as my best friend lets out a big sigh. My sister is not only the baby of the family used to having things her way, but leads a very scheduled life.
Yes, the opposite of me.
She schedules her meal times and eats the same thing for breakfast every day. Therefore, I was throwing off her “schedule” by asking her to drop me off at the airport. I find it absolutely bonkers that it would be a no brainer to drive your sister to the airport. It still is baffling to me. Her exact works were, “ I have to work out and meal prep in the morning.” I needed to be at the airport at 8:00am and she had to be at work at 11:45am. Me being me, would have not cared in the least bit if I missed my workout or had to prep my meal the night before, because I am a that is who I am. And she’s s my sister.
I ended up meeting a lovely taxi driver from Syria who shared my love for falafels. But still this one is hard for me to swallow.
Is it just me?
Is it because my sister doesn’t feel the social/familial pressure to help me out? Is it her generation to be more self-ish. Am I making it personal when it should be impersonal? Is it wrong of me to be hurt by this?
It not only makes me feeling better to get these words out, but I am working on my self-disclosure. Although, I am giver I usually receive what I need back from the universe. But not this case.
Have you had a similar experience? How would you address this?
There’s no better time than now,