People all have goals.
Even if they aren’t actively pursuing them, the goals are there, although if you aren’t lifting a finger to get closer to those goals, they remain what people popularly call “dreams”.
But if you’re in a couples situation, or a group endeavor, it’s seriously important that you do not confuse “goals” with “priorities”.
This is because while one might share goals, and assume to be collectively working towards those goals – those agreed-upon ends – each person views the road they need to travel to get there differently. Each person has individual needs that have to be met. Each person sees their own way to any mutual end in their own lights.
This is not some profound insight. This is something that all of us know, really, whether or not we are capable of facing it or articulating it. We do know it, but many of us refuse to look it in the face,
We represent (often forcibly) to ourselves and to others, that we know exactly the sole and only way to get from A to B, and a lot of us will choose those hills to die on.
Those who insist that the steps to be taken, or the order in which those steps need to occur are confusing the goal with the priority.
And this can cause disagreement and stress, for everyone involved.
You have to allow for these differences in perception and execution. You absolutely must. You have to trust that the goals are the same, even when it looks as if the steps are nonsensical or out of the order you want them to occur in.
It’s not because by becoming the parade marshal of other people’s lives, you will upset the people you care about. “My way or the highway” will upset them – that’s a given, but that’s not the real problem. They are free, in the end, to take on the pain, or to walk away – it’s up to them.
The real problem is what we do to ourselves in the process.
Because we doom ourselves to long term and unending discontent with life, and chronic disappointment in those we care for. We doom ourselves to missing not just some, but all the joy.
And that’s a really good way to fail at life and love.