Some of you may recall the school hall monitor. This person was assigned to sit in the school hallways and ensure that students were not roaming the halls unauthorized. Or, to ensure that visitors did not lose their way trying to locate a class, etc.
Some people or even situations in our lives serve a similar function as a hall monitor. Let’s go through some examples, begining with your career or job.
One day you wake up and you realize that you have outgrown your job or career. Perhaps there are no meaningful opportunities for career advancement, or there are no positions that you are genuinely interested in. Or, it could be that you need to make more money however your pay structure is fixed, so there’s no negotiating a larger raise, higher commission, or bonus. Aside from these issues, you convince yourself that you can go along with the flow. You persuade yourself each day to “just push through,” or, “just get through the shift.” You’ve learned to grow complacent and even low-key fearful of making the changes that you know you need because it seems like a foreign concept. More than likely you were raised by parents who passed on their “golden watch” mentality on to you. You know, the obligatory mindset of working for the same employer, or in the same job for 20 or 30+ years, only to retire with a commemorative gold watch.
No shade against them for sharing life lessons that kept them and us safe, fed, clothed, with a roof over our heads. However, times have changed, and your needs may be different today. You continue to ignore the signs for whatever your reasons until you meet the one coworker or boss who changes everything. The one who is unlike the others. The one who seems to challenge your very existence and who seems to be intent on making your work-life miserable. Maybe they are overly critical, volatile, difficult to communicate with, disrespectful…or just toxic with a capital ‘T.’ This person is your hall monitor.
Unlike your previous bosses or coworkers, the ones who made your work life tolerable, this person (or people) have come to disrupt the pattern. Truthfully speaking, they have no idea that they are serving you in this capacity. They are legitimately doing them. This is how they show up in the world, and the odds are their unacceptable behavior are not intended to singularly target you. However, you may feel this way because as I pointed out in the beginning, you always knew that it was time for a change. But you became comfortable and you were supported in this complacency until you weren’t. You could make this about them, and figure out ways to deal with them, or avoid them. Or, you could recognize their subconscious role in your life and make the changes that were evident a long time ago.
Next example…relationships. You have convinced yourself that you have a “type.” You are resolute in your convictions about dating this specific kind of person exclusively, whether it be based on their physical attributes, financial or social criteria, etc. Despite having dated this type unsuccessfully in the past, we continue to demand these common traits until we meet the one who is not actually “the one.” It’s the hall monitor. This is the one relationship when everything clicks. You sell yourself on this individual based on their potential. For example, you may convince yourself that this person is successful and has great credentials, despite the fact that they also have the personality of a tick. Or, because they are aware of their ‘high-profile’ status, they flagrantly ignore your value of monogamy by sleeping with everyone possible. You value communication and honesty in a relationship; they consider your desire to talk things out, or perceive your tendency of becoming emotional as intolerable or weak. The time has come that you must accept the fact that the two of you are incompatible, or that your attraction to this person is superficial at best.
This relationship forces you to acknowledge that you need more. Coupled with the fact that you have a room full of reasons and examples which prove this type of person is unavailable, and cannot give you what you need. There is no therapist or preacher that can change the reality that the two of you simply want different things from a relationship or life. Everyone is entitled to the relationship or arrangement that suits them. And because you are the person who is unhappy with how things are going, you may have to be the one to walk away. Or, stop chasing after the other person (e.g., hall monitor), when they attempt to walk away.
The hall monitor shows up to remind us of our intended purpose or path. They alert us when we’re heading in the wrong direction. As illustrated in the previous examples, hall monitors don’t always show up in the form that we recognize because they often bring with them some kind of pain point, or “issue” that we must resolve. We can distract ourselves by focusing on the “personality” of the hall monitor or we can acknowledge their underlying purpose for showing up in our lives. Hall monitor situations often highlight specific areas of opportunities, or circumstances that we can no longer tolerate. The hall monitor or situation may not offer the solution, but they definitely unveil the possibility of finding one. So instead of cursing the situation or person, see them literally as a blessing in disguise, doing a tremendous service to you in the long run.