Backstage at Disneyland, the vast, electronically managed costuming system is not pretty. But every day it churns out the thousands of costumes that make the Disney show happen.
And every day our back-stage mechanisms create the ‘show’ we present to the world. If we don’t like the audience response, it makes sense to follow the Disney practice and go behind the scenes to tweak the technology rather than criticize the audience.
Awareness is a skill that improves with practice. High skill levels mean we can do a lot backstage by ourselves, but at some point most of us need some support with the tinkering. If we have the humility to recognize this, our first port of call is often a friend.
In friendship, it’s easy to translate support as agreement, AKA ‘collusion’ in psychotherapy-speak. Our friends can join us in blaming the audience, which is often just what we want to hear. I come away from such conversations reassured, comforted, yet feeling strangely cheated and guilty. I struggle with how to handle the balance between comfort and collusion when I’m in the supporting role myself.
The audience may well be the wrong one for us. They may well be unappreciative or downright hostile, even dangerous. But unless we go back stage and examine our own mechanisms, our opportunity to learn and grow and even to move on to a new more appropriate audience is decidedly limited. That kind of conversation is not so comfortable.
How do you balance comforting a friend with honesty? Leave a comment.