“Is there a way you can make the call while on vacation next week?”  asks my colleague,  “I’ll miss your laughter and contribution to group.”

Immediately, I sense being attacked and ready to defend.  I wanted to protect myself from feeling mortified and ashamed.  Plus, I believed I needed to protect my colleague from my decision to enjoy my time on vacation instead of satisfying her with my presence.  Rather than hearing a longing and a shared desire from my colleague, I hear a demand and disappointment, which is perceived as a failure or let down.  Does this resonate with you?  How do we authentically disappoint?

I recall as a teenager during my parent’s divorce feeling between a rock and a hard place.  While I spent time with one parent  — I was not fulfilling my other parent’s hope to be with me.  In other words, there was always a causality.   As a result, I experienced migraines, anxiety, and depression.  I had yet to understand that my parents were responsible for soothing themselves and suffering through their disappointment in an unmet wish.

Getting back to my colleague’s question and desire, from my own treatment and supervision I knew my triggers.  I shared that I will not be in group because I choose to not take time from my vacation while I also acknowledged her voice and experience.  When we disappoint from a place of authenticity, passion, and gentleness, there becomes less room for causalities.  Opening the space for realness and genuineness between two people.