Redoping Our Personal Leaks

At what point does something useful morph into a toxin of sorts? We’re all familiar with the admonitory phrase, “Too much of a good thing,” and can think of examples of people who embody such tales. Whether its food, emotions, medication, or utilities, the key to channeling any of these beneficial substances lies in their implementation. If used incorrectly, they can switch from helpful to hurtful.

 

During a recent visit to her parents’ home, a friend was alarmed by the odor of gas throughout the basement—a smell nobody else noticed, they were so accustomed to it. The leaking gas line required immediate repair, a technique often referred to as “redoping.” Fortunately, nobody was injured, but the scenario captured my imagination as a way to consider what sorts of messages “leak” out of us. Every single one of us has blind spots in our lives, from which we transmit information about who we are or how we perceive the world, and we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

 

It’s way easier to recognize the steady, low hiss of others’ transmissions than it is to detect our own. What makes this so unsettling is that element of surprise, in the sense that we don’t realize we’re doing this, that we’re communicating this message. It’s hard to know how to address a problem when you don’t recognize that certain behaviors or attitudes are the equivalent of highway billboards. Examples of invisible leaks I’ve witnessed range from personal insecurity that manifests through name dropping, bullying tactics, and pricey wardrobes; deliberate blindness to seriously dysfunctional family dynamics; or those who seep a defensive mien cloaked under aggressive behavior. That perpetual trickle of disappointment or martyrdom is not so minor as to go unnoticed. We reassure ourselves that our secret beliefs are hidden from the world, when they’re not; what’s unnoticed by us is patently obvious to everyone else. The thing about my case study of the actual leaking gas line is that although nobody in the house noticed the rank smell, it remained immediately apparent to “outsiders”!

 

It’s normal for us to have hang ups—no human being escapes such baggage, and of course it’s always easier to diagnose the problems of others than to address our own, but much of the time what people do is simply pretend it isn’t there. Hear no evil, see no evil, ignore all signs of evil. Instead of tackling the serious leak, many folks opt for the sloppy, psychological version of redoping–whipping out some duct tape and hoping the problem goes away. We put our hands over our ears and sing loudly or threaten to grow furious should anyone raise the issue. Yeah, that’ll show them.

 

So, my fellow re-booters, where are your leaks? How might those close to you answer this?

 

I know you’re squirming right now…

 

What re-booters understand is that tackling this challenge is part of our lifetime journey. We are all here to “get over” something, so the fact that each of us has such challenges is an important part of what we have in common! Our personal gas leaks may vary in number and quality, but the important part isn’t the leak, it’s how we go about repairing it. How we assist others tackling their own redoping projects. It’s why we’re here.

 

Compassion and a willingness to assist another is a key characteristic of any re-booter. Much of the time, the only person who can replace the faulty line is the person him or herself, but we are on hand to assist if we can be helpful.  What I love and admire most about re-booting in general is that it includes the ability to notice a leak, offer assistance, and not take personal offense if the homeowner freaks out and simply throws some duct tape at it. It’s not our gas line, it’s not our leak. But we didn’t remain silent and we made ourselves available to them.

 

Such qualities are a world away from those who would rather perish in an explosion than acknowledge the scope of the problem or those who might titter and gossip about the leaks at another’s home. I know this analogy is getting rather heavy handed, but I find that I can comprehend some of these more abstruse topics by utilizing concrete, mundane images. My friend’s gas line was repaired, no problem, and all is safe. Good news, indeed.

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One Response to “Redoping Our Personal Leaks”

  1. helenga Says:

    Great analogy! I think the important thing is to have someone to be our “gas repairman,” as it were, to tell us honestly where we’re leaking. Then of course we have to listen to that person and be willing to make changes, too! 🙂

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