This is a post from deep into my archives. After almost 10 years of blogging, I'm revisiting some of the posts that still hold deep meaning for me in the hopes that you will connect with them too.
After years of working to recognize the pattern I talk about in this piece, I'm pretty good at quickly seeing when it tries to present itself again. But this is one of those patterns that I think others experience, especially as we spend so much time online. If you recognize yourself, I hope you will try to open yourself up more instead of putting on armor to protect yourself. Again and again I've learned that it is only when I truly show up as me, in all the messiness that can entail, do I really find the people who deeply see me. This is one of the reasons I host retreats: To create a safe environment for women to practice showing up as themselves and seeing what it's like to make friends from that place.
Powerful important stuff.
This post demonstrates though that even when you know this, it can still be hard. But we keep trying anyway. (This is what keeping our hearts open is really all about I think.)
I've been thinking a lot about how I really know how to get lost inside my own head, and how sometimes that means getting lost inside the past. The truth is that the past is what gives us the experiences we need to deal with the moment we are living in, but sometimes the past creates a path where you are walking knee deep in murky stuff that isn't helping you at all but is instead threatening to pull you under.
A pattern has begun to make itself clear. I try very hard to feel alone in a group. I try to find a reason why someone won't like me or why I'm being invited to feel left out or why I'm not the most interesting person there so of course people really do not want me to be part of it all and oh how the list goes on.
(It is very embarassing to admit this.)
I try to find little reasons to feel lonely, even when I'm having a good time. And here is the thing, i don't even really realize I'm doing it because I'm so wrapped up in telling myself, "See, see, I'm right. They don't even want to listen to you/your ideas..." or some other such nonsensical phrasing that I try to make myself believe. Somehow this must have been working for me in the past. This walking in the back of the group "Oh look at me, no one even wants to walk with me" kind of crap...it must have been working. I think it is how I could justify feeling lonely so often.
And I suppose the reality is that I've had some experiences where this little voice has been proven right. Where someone seemed like a friend but wasn't. Where a group acted like they wanted me to be part of their closeness but when I was really myself, I was rejected.
These experiences have given that voice power..."see, I'm right!" it says...
So when I found myself invited to a weekend with a dear friend I've spent a lot of time with in person and two bloggers I couldn't wait to meet in person and spend time with, I said yes. And I didn't even think about saying no. I guess I wasn't allowing myself to dwell on any negative possibilities because if I did, I might have a total panic attack thinking that the rejection I'd felt from other bloggers I'd spent time with might happen again.
And I never did let that panic even whisper loud enough to warrant recognition.
Still, I tried to feel alone in a group again.
Yes. I. Did.
Even though I was having an incredible time. Even though I felt truly embraced. Even though I was staying in a home where I feel like family when I'm there.
I still tried to let the past stomp on the present.
But, this time, I tried to just observe it while it was happening. I recognized it, "Oh, there you are again. There you are trying to invite me to see something that isn't happening. I see you." And I just let myself feel it, while also staying really, really present in what was happening around me.
And a funny thing happened. I couldn't convince myself that it was happening again because all the evidence pointed to an experience with three women where I was being really seen for all of me.
Staying present while allowing myself to be honest with me about the emotions that were coming up allowed me to remain grounded while recognizing my own wisdom.
And, there is this other piece of deciding not to share all those feelings as I was having them because even though I was surrounded by women who care about me, who would have listened, sometimes the sharing creates an unexpected drama that just isn't needed if you allow yourself to find that grounding within.
I believe this one simple truth: We all want to be liked.
But there is another layer of this: We need to like ourselves.
I know that might sound simple or silly or "mid-80s new agey," but we need to look at the truth of our own self-reflection and be honest about what we say to ourselves and how that invites its own layer of confusion as we live in our lives. Or should i say, I'm doing this a bit more each day and realizing how it enables me to be so much more fully present in my life.
I started this blog in the middle of the two-year yoga teacher training i did a few years ago. I was in the midst of understanding how just being with one's breath, present within the inhale and exhale, could change one's life. The idea of trying to "be present, be here."
Learning to really live this, not just speak of it, is a pretty intense experience.
But, I think it is really living. Living by being present and grounded and embraced within your own knowledge and truth...while allowing yourself to be loved.
My hope for you is that you let yourself be loved.