Mindful Cafe: Why we can relate to Walter White of Breaking Bad
By Stephanie Willis Submitted March 4, 2013 4:20PM
Could this be the year "Breaking Bad," with Bryan Cranston, defeats "Mad Men?" | AMC\Frank Ockenfels
Updated: March 25, 2013 12:44PM
What is fascinating about people’s love for the character Walter White in the show “Breaking Bad” is that most people in real life would not willingly watch a crystal meth cook’s life unfold over five years much less be in the same room with him. Yet your affinity for him allows you to adjust your boundaries and accept him because oddly enough people can relate to Walt.
Sometimes filmmakers and artists trick you into letting your guard down. You allow yourself to be open to a connection that your mind otherwise would have categorized as unacceptable or just not your kind of story.
It happens with life events constantly when people totally write off the possibility that they would ever act like Walter White, a man who violates his ethics and finds himself doing things that he would have never imagined.
Like when couples with children separate and agree that it would be best for the kids to keep things simple and fair across the board. Parents never imagine that they would fight their ex every year because they are fixated on making sure they get their $1,000 income tax credit for filing for the kids as dependents.
Or consider other situations lacking in accountability like that of medical providers who abuse their authority to bill the higher reimbursement rate CPT codes. Honestly, what average patient even knows what a CPT code stands for much less which exactly related to their 20-minute office visit?
We aren’t as pristine and well manicured as we want people to believe on Pinterest. The gray areas can fill quickly when behaviors are inconsistent with our values.
Start with these tools toward holding yourself accountable in your life. First, you have to keep your own side of the street clean, you cannot do other people’s inventories. Reflect who you actually are and focus on your own behaviors.
Consider where your own preferences and personal life is clouding your logic and reasoning professionally. Find a private consultant or confidante of some kind to help you keep that in check.
With boundary setting, you are not responsible for everyone else’s issues. When you over think your every move in life because you are trying to protect or please others, you inadvertently baby-sit their emotions and deny them their right to decide what they can and cannot handle.
Some days in life you act like Walter White, and some days you don’t. Every day you have the choice for that 24 hours to decide how you want to show up in your life.
Stephanie Willis is president of Willis Counseling & Consulting, a private group therapy practice in Naperville and Chicago. She can be reached at email@example.com and 630-481-6463.