Most of us are giving advice about the things we need to learn in our own lives. The wounded healer is one of those infuriating and delightful ironies of the universe. And while I never thought of myself as a "self-help" writer, you know where you found this book -- right next to Be Your Own Shrink and Why You Think Your Mother Doesn't Love You -- so you know what that makes it, and me.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me state for the record that I am not the perfect wife, mother, child, or friend. Bearing that in mind, it is precisely because of the mistakes I've made and the lessons I'm learning that I feel I can share my insights. My wish is that they may prove helpful for you in your own journey.
This book is an attempt to offer the things I've come across that work for me (or at least that I'm working on). Please keep in mind that life is a process. I wouldn't for a minute pretend that I have it all figured out. I struggle in my relationships every day. So if you see me in the supermarket yelling at one of my kids, please give me a nudge and remind me to reread chapter 7. The important thing for me is to be aware and keep moving. The progress may be painfully slow at times. As Franciscan Father Richard Rohr says, "It's always three steps forward, two steps back." In reality, it's sometimes four steps back.
The ideas discussed in the following chapters are a compilation of what I have learned about being in relationship over the years as a daughter, wife, mother, actress, producer, and writer. In each area, I noticed that the lessons were frequently the same and that they would reveal themselves as long as I was willing to do three things -- show up, do the work, and be honest with myself and others. It's a seemingly simple list -- but not always easy to put into practice.
I have avoided, procrastinated, and fabricated enough for ten people, but I have also, on occasion, made a concerted attempt to commit myself to genuine presence. (Admittedly, even now this has not become a continuous state. Sadly, I am often looking at my BlackBerry instead of into my husband's eyes during a conversation.) But while I would hardly claim enlightenment, or even conversion, I believe I have grown.
The concepts presented here are what I learned when I was really doing what I was doing. Much of what I've ascertained is the direct result of the choices I made, but I'm not suggesting that you run out and make those same choices for yourself. You can discover similar lessons and more exactly where you are right now. The fundamental ideas are everywhere, in every part of life -- sometimes glaring at us like big neon signs, other times hidden beneath a surface of seeming insignificance.
The truth of the matter is that we are learning about and living in relationship whether we're driving a cab or serving on the Supreme Court. The purpose of this book is to provide a mirror for your experiences through mine and to share insights that can be applied to your own personal journey of relationship.