I feel the urge to write, but all I can think about is why I haven’t been writing for the last four months. I was on a roll. It was all going so well. And then a friend gave me some very mild, very nice constructive criticism and I simply stopped. I suddenly had nothing to say. I went quiet.
Why? Well honestly, I hadn’t thought to ask that until very recently. I’ve just finished reading Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving F*ck” and in the middle where he talks about the values that we’re running that don’t serve us I realized the most destructive pattern I’ve been running more most of my life: The desperate need to be popular.
I still need it. I need to be liked, admired, remembered, acknowledged. I go back in my mind tracking the source of this need, and while I can’t find a specific BIG moment there are definitely moments of feeling not quite “it.”
In primary school, I played second fiddle (or so I felt) to my best friend. She was perfect in every way, and I was not quite her. Later we moved and the group of girls at my new school wrote a letter to me. One of them handed it to during break. I was talking to another friend, but she graciously said, “Read it.” I did and started to cry. The whole group of about 10 girls unanimously broke up with me. In the next period (since I couldn’t stop crying) they all recanted the letter and took me back. I knew it wasn’t real, they did too, but it was easier than being a loser, so I accepted their apologies. I still do not know what I did that was so appalling.
I, mostly unsuccessfully, continued to search for my people again during school. I think I must have been quite guarded after these experiences. In high school, I met another group of girls. They actually did accept me (I think) but by this point, the fear of not fitting in or being enough had taken hold and if another shinier group called, I was there.
At one point I actually betrayed a very close friend in a very demeaning way for the simple reason that I could not face being alone again. I had to be in with the group.
These are just some highlights, but the just is that I’ve never felt like I had that magic, that magnetic essence that is “it.” That one elusive quality that makes you irresistible to anyone who meets you: Instant, powerful, enigmatic popularity.
In Manson’s book, he speaks about Values (I know, shocking for a self-help book.) The interesting part is that he speaks less about creating or choosing values that we want and more about how to recognize the values that are not as great. The ones we’re already running and that are already causing havoc in our lives.
As I gobbled up this book and went about my days, I realized how much of my life I live worrying about what other people expect of me. While I know that I cannot control what others think, I still spend a lot of time trying to maintain a particular image in their minds. An image of a girl who is effortless and easy-going and OMG she is also beautiful. So, I apply the same facade every day. I keep up appearances, as they used to say, all in an effort to be effortless. (Oh, the irony.)
As I write this, I suppose there should be a turning point right about now. A moment where I tell you that I’ve turned it all around and this is how you can too. But the truth is that this realization is new and raw, and I have no advice. What I do have is a plan.
My plan is to stay vigilant about my thoughts. To do my best to notice the difference between doing and acting in a way that is for others versus myself. From there, I aim to choose what serves me rather than my ego’s need to be accepted by other egos.
I hope I can because I believe this core, deep hurt has manifested into a value and metric that has kept me up at night, driven some very destructive behaviour and caused me to stray away from who I am.
I am not popular, and I don’t care… or at least I am trying not to.
This morning I woke up, checked my phone and was hit with a very real feeling of betrayal. I went quiet, still with hurt and anger and blindsided. I see now that the only way out of this feeling is to let go of the poor me victim I’ve constructed in this story.
By doing that I will be able to let go of the entire thing and move on. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not. That feeling was raw and ugly, and it held on tight. So, before I let go, I must own my space within the situation, see the lesson and the blessing. It is when I can see the situation from these perspectives that the feelings will dissolve.
I started by seeing the blessing. What good came from my not being a part of this occasion? Well, I’ve been getting myself back on track, focusing my energy to my writing, my learning and how I want to show up in this space. If I had participated, I would have been distracted from my focus and the progress made might not be at all.
I’ll add here that during my “silent rage time” I was agonizingly scrolling through my Facebook feed searching for some further dagger to perpetuate this feeling. When I found this meme, I stopped as it allowed me to see this blessing and how my path is simply heading in a different direction:
“Sometimes the very thing you lost was in the way of you winning.”
In that moment, a smile came over my face. I felt humbled by all that is working and conspiring for me. I could see the blessing, and it allowed me to choose how I wanted to feel. I closed Facebook and shifted my focus back to feeling good.
The lesson became clear in trying to decide how to respond. Do I call this person to explain my grievance? What would happen if I do? What will I gain? The answer: Nothing.
As a result of my call, she may know how I feel and she may apologize, but that’s about it. It will not change what happened and we will still be where we are. What could happen is that my response becomes a part of her story and something she repeats to friends and colleagues. None of this would serve me. In fact, it would only add energy to something I don’t want.
This leaves me with one option. Forgive her, the situation and my part in it. I do not need her to hear me say it or for her to know about my experience for it to be real forgiveness because forgiveness is simply the practice of acceptance without attachment.
So, I have forgiven. I am grateful for the blessing and the lesson and I hope we cross paths again when it suits my journey and hers.All Posts
This was my miracle today. As the Course in Miracles says:
“Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so the alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.”
So, my dear, how do you practice this in your own life? Here are the steps should you wish to let go of the dark into light and love:
Remember that what has happened is for you. No matter how bad it seems, or how much it hurts, it is happening so that you may learn a deep lesson and is guiding you towards the highest good.
Find the blessing. What have you gained/ been able to do achieve/ been able to avoid as a result of this situation? It can be an internal realization or a massive shift in your life. There are no criteria for the blessing, except that it has a positive impact on you.
Find the lesson. This may be a deep personal/ spiritual lesson of how you wish to respond and move forward. Be open to a new perspective or a confirmation of an idea and that will be your lesson.
Once you see the lesson and the blessing, you are able to confirm point 1: it is all happening for you. This allows you to view the situation, the person and your part in it with love. Feel the relief in that. The weight begins to lift.
Now, with love, forgive yourself, the persona and the entire situation. Thank each party for their role in delivering the blessing and the lesson to you.
From this place you are able to let it go. Release it as it no longer has a hold on you.
The dark feeling may pop up again over the next few days. When this happens remind yourself of the above. Affirm for yourself: It happened for me. This was the lesson, this was the blessing. Thank you.
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