One of the cornerstones of magic is misdirection. Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing to distract its attention from another thing that is happening. A good magician draws your attention to his right hand while his left hand is doing the trick. It is an essential magicians tool, but when used correctly it can fool people completely.
Unfortunately, people will use misdirection in their personal lives to trick you too. We will talk about their children all the time so that you do not look at our marriage. We talk about our marriage, so you do not look at our career. We talk about our exercise and diet, so we do not have to deal with our past. We push one thing to the forefront of our conversations, social media, and personal interactions so that you do not look at the other areas of our lives.
We do this because we know that if you were to look carefully, we would be exposed. You would see the mess we have tried to hide for years. If we can keep your attention away from the mess, we feel good about ourselves for another day.
The trouble is that one day we will be exposed. It is not a matter of “if” we will be exposed, but when and to whom. One day someone will reveal our secrets, and the trick will fall apart. One day the divorce papers will come, the children will make a huge mistake, you will get fired, or you will forget everyone is watching and you do not put on the show. All secrets are gone, and the personal magic show is over.
What if instead of spending so much time pretending you have it all together you spent your time really trying to change. What if you had that hard conversation? What if you truly forgive? What if you ignored what the public thought and focused on your issues? What if you were honest for once in your life? Sure, life might be more difficult at the moment, but you would be dealing with reality and not all the smoke and mirrors.
The truth is that magic shows are fun for sideshow carnivals, but personal magic is a complicated web of deceit that ultimately destroys people. Maybe today it’s time to stop the show.