When I read Scary Close by Donald Miller (mini-review here), he shared an analogy that his therapist once gave him, saying how he WISHED he had learned it years earlier. I’m with him. It’s a great visual to help you tread more mindfully in your friendships, marriage, and even your role as a parent.
She put three pillows on the floor and said one pillow was hers, one was his, and the one in the middle symbolized their relationship. Pointing at his pillow, she said, “Don, that’s your pillow, that’s your life. The only person who gets to step on that pillow is you. Nobody else. That’s your territory, your soul.”
Don then goes on to say:
“Codependency happens when too much of your sense of validation or security comes from somebody else. She [the therapist] said that both of us could step into the middle pillow any time we wanted because we’d agreed to be in a relationship. However, she said, at no point is it appropriate to step on the other person’s pillow. What goes on in the other person’s soul is none of your business. All you’re responsible for is your soul, nobody else’s.”
How often have I let other people step on my pillow?
How often do I do the stepping? (My husband’s pillow has most definitely been stepped on a time or two!)
How often do you?
And possibly an even scarier question, how often do I step on my children’s pillows? It’s a fine line as a parent, wanting to mold our kids versus simply wanting to unfold our kids.
But this isn’t about beating ourselves up if we’ve stomped on ALL THE PILLOWS; it’s just about being aware of other people’s autonomy, in the same way that we hope others will be aware of our own.
Guard those pillows, my friends!
If I had known while we were in
heaven Acapulco that I’d be blogging about stomping on pillows a couple of months later, I would have stood on the purple pillows for this picture instead of the marble floor! Oh well. Live and learn, people, live and learn!
“Know who you are and know what you want in a relationship, and give people the freedom to be themselves.” Donald Miller