I read something interesting the other day about how ego develops in small children, something that I’ve seen illustrated time and time again in my own home. Indy will stand in front of the TV, 6 inches from the screen, blocking most of the picture. Gates will be sitting in the background screaming “Move! I can’t see!” And Indy will not budge. This, according to what I read, is normal. The young child believes that because they can see the TV, therefore everyone must be able to see the TV and therefore the concept of blocking the picture from someone else is not one that their ego is ready to grasp. I do hope that his ego grasps it soon, one less battle between siblings would be nice.
In many ways, though, a lot of us continue to function at about that ego level into adulthood, convinced that our perception is what matters, never stopping to consider that there just might be another, equally valid viewpoint. Indy’s viewpoint is accurate in part; he can see the tv. He’s just failed to take the bigger picture into question; can Gates see the tv as well? As frustrating as these sibling squabbles are, the frustration and hurt magnify when the self-focused ego continues into adulthood.
Guess what? An awful lot of us are guilty of thinking that if we can see the tv, so can everyone else. What if we don’t get the response we want from our spouse when we share something with them? What if we really need someone to help us with something and they fail to notice that we need help? Do we walk through life expecting that if we can see what’s going on in our minds, then everyone else ought to be able to see it too? What a huge disappointment when they fail to exercise their psychic powers or x-ray vision to see into our brain and past the facades we put on to see what we really want from them.
There’s only one choice if we want the satisfaction of making connections. We have to boot ego out of the way and let others see what we need. That means asking. Sometimes it means vulnerability, it means admitting we aren’t as strong as we pretend to be. But in the end, everyone gets to see the tv.