That feeling one gets when – if they could just step into another’s shoes for a day or two, they’d have it all figured out. You’re in conflict at work? Gimme that. There’s a relationship hiccup? Gimme that. If only I could get my hands on your life for a bit, that I could fix it right up.
Complete bullshit, of course. But occasionally, I bump into this feeling, that despite me only knowing you through the version of your life I see, I’m sure that I could do YOU better.
This has a term: The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight; basically the belief that one has a better handle on not only life, but other people’s lives, than they do. Add it to a long list of confirmation biases psychology recognizes exist, but most of us still fall into.
Gimme that. This is not in reaction to clients, but my own adult kiddos; my parenting bucket of understanding and thoughtful wisdom is woefully much smaller than the one I seem to bring to my office. Perhaps seeing the day to day of their ambivalent blundering bolsters the impulse to step in, take over, smooth the waters they fight with entitled outbursts and swiss-cheese resumes… the shrink in me knows I’m not supposed to.
Stepping in doesn’t teach anything, doesn’t move their ‘adult needle’ further down the dial. There are hidden realizations and connections they make beneath the surface I’m likely not seeing, that will probably result in adulting a few months down the line. Or not – either way though, I don’t get to make their calls for them. (Or write their essays or make their apologies or help them settle romantic disputes unless asked)
They say ‘trust me, I’ve got this’. I’ll keep trying to and say ‘Gimme that’ safely out of their hearing.