|Thank you, Cassie.|
|I do not have this |
taxidermied alligator's confidence
I care a lot about what other people think of me. Probably too much. I even care (disproportionately) what people who don't really know me think. I often imagine that people are thinking the worst of me - which is of course something daft in itself, because people are generally thinking about themselves and their existence in the world, as that's what being human mostly is - and I can magnify even the tiniest interaction into a potential disaster. My difficulty stems from a combination of personal insecurity, and a genuine belief that everyone has a valid point or a right to their view (blame my inner psychologist), and that their view comes from a reasonable place to them. Because opinions like that are subjective, a person's dislike of you cannot be considered unreasonable as such, even if born of a misunderstanding. Feelings are what they are. So if they don't like me or think ill of me, then perhaps they might be right and I (cue catastrophising thought pattern) am thus unlovable and forgettable and unworthy.
When it comes to people who are important to me, or important to the people I love, I am even more concerned if there seems to be any kind of misunderstanding. Ben has pointed out that whatever anyone thinks of me, he would and will always want to be with me. Equally, if someone in my life did not like him, he would be able to live with it. If one of my family, for example, did not like Ben, however, I would have an issue. While I would still choose to be with him every single time (plus, as I said back in my first ever v-log, no one actually expressed any negative opinions about that choice, including the transatlantic move aspect) and there's no person I would fight harder for, I would want to resolve any negative feelings. I cannot stand conflict, and I cannot bear the idea of someone I love being hurt by me in a direct or indirect way. I am a peaceful creature who does not enjoy rocking the boat, to the point that I will almost always stay quiet - unless I'm standing up for someone else. I'm kind of a wimp (but I like to see it more as always assuming the best of people).
|Esse quam videri|
Finally, being blessed enough to have a partner and friends who do love me for me, and couldn't give a monkey's about how anyone else might feel; to be around people who show unconditional, sensitive, thoughtful, attentive, supportive, joyful love and always think the best of others; and people who continue to be courageous, loving, and vulnerable in the face of their own struggles and pain is what I should be focusing on. This is both humbling and inspiring. The fact that there are - or may be - people I encounter who don't do that isn't important, and it doesn't actually have any real consequences for who I actually am.
I will leave you with this wonderful TEDTalk, in which the concept and importance of vulnerability is explored (and from which some of the phrasing in this blog post has been borrowed). It's one of the most pleasingly concise, deeply resonating, and simultaneously comforting and discomforting monologues I've ever heard. In order to be connected, you have to be who you are rather than who you think you should be, which means opening yourself up to possibly being hurt. But it also means opening yourself up to really loving, and really being loved - and that is always worth the risk of really being.
"And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can't practice compassion with other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly. And the last was they had connection, and -- this was the hard part -- as a result of authenticity, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection."
"And I know that vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it's also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love."
"You cannot selectively numb emotion. ... When we numb [the bad stuff], we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable."
"...to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee; to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, "I'm enough," then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves."