Thinking back on my experience in life, I recognized a life lesson that I learned more recently that actually started way back when I was a younger girl. Let me start with a story.
It started when I got to go for a sleep-over, it was a slumber party, those were all the rage when I was younger. My best-friend had a whole bunch of us over together and one of the things we got to do, was to go on a hike in the woods. It was a big group of girls and we were having so much fun, and I felt comfortable with who I was.
As we were hiking, we were all excited, and I remember there was a new girl in school who had been invited too. We came upon a crossroad where we needed to decide to go one way or the other way. I recognize now, that I was a leader, because the girls all looked to me for which direction to go.
I said, “Let’s go this way!” And, this other girl said, “No! We’re not going to go that way; we are going to go this way.”
I don’t remember all the conversation, but I do remember the result was that I did my best to stand my ground to have everyone follow me in the direction I preferred. Yet, everybody went the other way. That was a big deal-breaker.
I didn’t know what to do with it and no one stayed with me. I didn’t have a compass. I’d never experienced this before. What I did was fall into a shadow belief; that I’m all alone and I don’t matter.
I went back to the house by myself and called for a ride to go home. My life was different for quite a while because I lived in the shadow belief that I’m all alone and I don’t matter. I didn’t have the skill-sets to navigate the conversation with my friends.
It was a bit of a surprise to unpack this one. I had been sitting with pondering what’s it like when you are in conversations, especially in groups where you are feeling good about yourself, and you notice that you are starting to withdraw from the conversation. What is it that is triggering you?
Maybe it’s because somebody speaks up with authority, and they snap at other people when they don’t do what they want. (Which reminded me of the experience I had with this new girl in school.) You might find yourself then, doing your best to bend over backwards to accommodate everyone. You don’t want anyone to be disappointed, so you do your best to avoid that ever happening.
When they do get disappointed you find yourself apologizing, taking responsibility, when it’s not really your responsibility. I wonder if you are just wanting to stay away from how uncomfortable it feels to feel so all alone, and so worried that it will affirm that you don’t matter. Especially if there is a conflict. So, you end up being taken for granted in your relationships and there’s a lack of consideration and care for what your experience is.
Well, in my life’s journey, it’s led me to discover my own answers. It’s been quite a journey; there’s been some peaks where I’ve made it to some mountain tops and there’s been times, I’ve gone low into some deep valleys. Yet, when I can develop my capacity to enjoy the journey wherever I’m at, I’ve found that it’s possible to notice your patterns when they arise.
If the pattern is that you withdraw, and become passive, when somebody comes in with a different preference than yours; you can notice becoming passive and instead, engage in the conversation. Curiosity is key to staying engaged, especially when others express a different preference.
Rather than feeling compelled to be responsible for the world you can allow others to take responsibility for themselves. You can develop the courage to name what your preferences are and allow that to be okay. You can even take a different path than others and allow that to be okay too, rather than believing you don’t matter. Even when others feel upset, we don’t have to take on their stuff. That’s the truth.
On my path I’ve developed something from the imagery of trees, and visualizing them, I’ve created a Healing You Guide. This guide is like a compass for life. When you are out there on these paths and it can get so confusing and you wonder which path do you take? The guide supports you to slow down, to call a pause, to be right where you are. It supports you to navigate through your inner jungle to find your Roots of Connection so that you are empowered to literally lean into life with an enthusiasm and excitement looking forward to what might come next.