I Let You Down
Have you ever felt like you have truly let someone down? What about the feeling of disappointing someone you love so much or even a mere acquaintance? For me, when this feeling creeps in, I am left with a visceral feeling in my gut and with a tiny little voice that whispers in my ear "wow, you kinda fucked that one up"
I have just come back from a solo road trip, and as I was driving through Maine, I had a moment of realization. In fact, this moment hit me like a ton of bricks. This feeling that I so often have in my gut, that makes me feel like I have done or said something wrong, and that someone will be hurt or disappointed by my actions, had a name. BETRAYAL. Not the kind of betrayal by a lover, a friend or a family member. No the betrayal that came to me in this moment is the worst kind. SELF BETRAYAL. In that moment driving through beautiful mountains, I saw in a flash how I have lived most of my life, betraying myself. What? Why? Well I think that it was all in an effort to ensure that I didn't rock anyone's boat too much. To ensure that I would be loved, admired, accepted and seen as a good person. All the while doing a complete DIS-service to me.
So I pulled over and made some random notes on all of the ways that this self-betrayal had crept into my world at various times throughout my life. Maybe, just maybe, you can relate?
#1~ PLAYING SMALL
Man, can I do this one well. I can walk in a room and instantly assess the vibe or the energy. As soon as I walk in, I begin to adjust and readjust and readjust myself some more so that I can 'fit in' I begin to use different words that seem more in line with the group, I might position my body differently, cross my arms. Heck, I might even hide out in a corner for a bit. I am not saying that I should go into a room and make a grand (LEO) entrance and wave my arms around and say look at me. BUT, I definitely should not dim my light in order to fit in to any crowd or function. This light I have inside is my TRUE essence, and if I am hiding that truth from others, then I am acting as if I am not enough just as I am. Note to Self: Shine that light baby! Future Goals: Walk into a room and stay in my own (energetic) space. Be authentically and unapologetically ME!
#2~ TRYING TO IMPRESS ANOTHER
Yep, guilty. I've done this FOR SURE. The odd name drop, ego boost, embellished story shared. Why you may ask? Well, I suppose in an effort to convince someone else that I am a person worthy of their attention. Someone they will like. Sometimes, well actually, a lot of the time, I feel like I am so different from others that I need to convince them that I am a good or interesting person. What happens in this scenario for me is that I end up feeling that just being me without my "story" or accomplishments, travel stories, adventures and work successes, just isn't enough to be noticed or admired. Note to Self: Not everyone is going to like you. AND that is totally ok. Future Goals: Just be yourself darling, completely and fully.
#3~ LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
I feel that this pattern of mine has shown itself at various times throughout my life. It became pretty HUGE in my high school and college/university days. Seeking, and seeking and seeking for that one perfect guy that would just make all of my troubles go away. Someone who would tell me how wonderful and beautiful I was. Someone to notice me, compliment me, see me for all that I was. Someone who would do anything for me. Okay, looking back, this pattern may have slipped a wee bit into my 30's. BUT the point is that geez, no one could do this for me. No one could magically love me and make all of my insecurities disappear. No one could validate my existence by admiring my looks. No person could compliment the self-doubt from my being. Well, back up. Not 'no one'. There is one person who could do this for me. ME. I am the ONLY one who can fill myself up with enough love and self acceptance to banish any negative thoughts or beliefs that I may have. Note to Self: No one can make it better for you honey, but you. Future Goals: LOVE yourself fully. Each day. Through all of your ups and downs, good times and bad.
#4~ NO. NOPE. NADA.
Ok, I admit it. I am a people pleaser TO FAULT. I really just want every single person to be happy. Especially my family and friends. Again, I know that this all stems from my ultimate fear of disappointing another. I mean, how could any one actually like and respect me if I said NO? What if I made a 'no' decision that wasn't the best for the 'group'. What if I said 'no' to someone that asked for a favour? You see, I have people-pleaser-itis. It is a pretty complicated dis-ease, and wow has it been hard to cure. But not impossible. What I am starting to understand is the saying yes all of the time, when I really need or want to say no, creates unhealthy personal boundaries. It shows me, and others, that I am willing to put someone else's needs before mine. Which to be honest, doesn't feel great. Am I not worth more than that? Is it not better for me to make sure that my cup is full before I even attempt to fill someone else's cup? Is this a selfish act? Note to self: YES and YES and NO. Future goals: Just say NO when I really want to. Even if it feels foreign. Especially when it just doesn't feel right to say YES.
#5~ THE JUDGE & THE JURY
Since we have established that I am a people pleaser, it isn't a surprise that I worry about what other people think of me. Over the past 3 years this has become SO apparent to me. As I made my way through a failed marriage AND fell in love with someone who is much younger than me, I found myself in whirlwind of worry. What is everyone going to think about me? What are my parents going to think? My friends? My friend's friends? My daughter's friend's parents? My community? Strangers who might hear some random rumour about me. I found myself so focused on what other people would think of my failed marriage and then my super 'taboo' new relationship, that I was just not living in the moment OR living in my truth. I was in my own super imposed prison of worry, guilt, shame and fear. All because of the off chance that someone was thinking bad thoughts about me. Plot twist! I actually had no proof that this was even true! (insert eye roll) Note to self: New mantra: 'you do you, and I'll do me' Future Goals: Live your life fully from your heart. Always speak words of kindness to YOURSELF and others and have faith that you are always doing the best that you can. PS: If someone doesn't 'agree' with you or support you, that is totally ok. Just be good with yourself above all else; and remember that other people's opinions just don't matter. Whether they are made up stories in your mind OR not.
#6~ ITTY BITTY SHITTY COMMITTEE ~ a.k.a. SELF REDICULE ~
With all of these above mentioned strategies that I have set in place in my world of self-betrayal, I am left with something that also deserves credit. That little voice in my head who is always telling me I've messed up. She can be super loud and bitchy at times (and sometimes even brings all of her mean girl friends with her), throwing around insults such as "wow, did you ever mess things up today" OR "you are eating potato chips AGAIN!? I thought you said you were just having greens and smoothies today" OR "Wow, that dress sure makes you look fat" OR in a time of tough parenting "Your child will never forgive you. She will be messed up for life", and so on and so on. Each and Every time I allow this voice to define who I am , I chose to become my own enemy. I chose to bully myself, rather than the opposite which would be to love myself through the times when I need it the most. If I can't stand up for myself in times of feeling not so great, how can I ever expect any one else to? Not to mention words are SO powerful. They all hold vibration and can effect us and other people so drastically. Note to Self: How we talk to ourself can easily define who we become. So choose wisely. Future Goals: Only speaking to myself with words of kindness. Remind yourself how beautiful you are (inside and out) and when you are having a tough day or a tough moment, choose words that are gentle and kind. And don't forget to update the mean girl who heads up this committee about the new rules!
So ya, that basically sums up my latest realization in a nut shell. You see what it all comes down to, is that I am DONE betraying myself. I am DONE ignoring my inner voice. I am DONE acting out as a mean girl to myself and I am absolutely DONE living in fear to what other people may or may not think and feel about me. I know that this road won't be easy BUT the promise that I am making to myself, is in each moment that comes up as a challenge or when life throws a curve ball or hell, when 6 planets turn retrograde; that above all else, I am going to speak as kind and gentle to myself as I can. I am going to be more patient when I 'mess' up and offer words of encouragement and kindness to myself, rather than the opposite. Because at the end of the day, the person that I sit with, spend the most time with, am surrounded by no matter where I am or where I go, is ME. And, I am worth it.
*Dave Matthews has inspired this Diary entry. "I Let You Down" resonates with me. I sing this song not to another, but as a love song of true apology to myself.