Once upon a time, I went to high school – and I loved it. Once upon a time, I went to camp in northern Minnesota – and I loved it even more. Once upon a time, I went to college – and I hated it. And, once upon a time, I began my life as a post-grad, 20 something – and I found that love again. Haven’t lost it yet.
So…one of these things is not like the other. Yes?
At first, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with college, I only knew that it felt like hell. And then I got it. No one there got me, no one loved me. It was like being in an ugly black hole where everything was backwards, wrong, upside down. It was like walking around in a sea of Calvin Klein skinny jeans while I rocked my Levi’s cords. (quite literally)
Now, let’s be clear: No one there had to love me, it’s not mandated in the Universal Handbook, (as far as I know) – so the real issue wasn’t with me and it wasn’t with them (and believe you me, I blamed us both for a loooooong time). The actual problem was that I was too young and unaware to LEAVE.
That’s it folks. I’m serious. This life is too short to be hanging around people that don’t love us. In our relationships and in our businesses – essentially, in our lives.
And so I’m wondering: who are you spending time with? Because if you’re spending time with people that don’t see you, don’t get you and, as a result, don’t totally fall in love with you…then I’m wondering what the hell is wrong with you.
Because you and I are magnificent, we’re delicious. The way we think, the things we say, how we write and create – the perfume of US-ness that trails behind us when we walk down the street – it’s captivating. And those that do not fall under its spell just aren’t all that worthy.
A bad habit.
In the past, I’ve had a bad habit. When I’ve come across someone that wasn’t spellbound by me, that said ‘no thanks’ to my company, my writing, my work, mySELF, I let it hurt my feelings. I wondered what was wrong with ME. And I spent (a lot of) time trying to convince them to hire me or take me to dinner or like my writing or pay attention to me or love me. In effect, I tried to FIX THEM. Because, let’s face it – something was broken. Right?
And now I’m finding that hilarious. If you’re a mosquito and a bat flies past you, do you stand up and make a scene? Do you flag her down with your buzzing? NO! That would be STUPID. Do you know why? Because the bat will NOT give you the love and attention you seek! The bat will cause you pain! The bat will EAT YOU!
I thought it was me that was broken. But, now I see that it wasn’t – even if they don’t love me, I’m just fine. Quite fine, as a matter of fact.
Think about how you feel when you’re around someone that really loves and gets you: lit up, like your best self, happy, confident, safe, fantastical.
And think about how you feel when you’re around someone that doesn’t: needy, unsure, insecure, pissed off, scared, sad, belligerent, wronged (unjustly!).
Imagine if you stopped letting them choose you. Imagine choosing your own experience. Because there’s little you can do about them. Imagine your life if you stopped trying…
Dependence and Ego
Before I get lambasted for depending on other people (the ones that do love us) for happiness and fulfillment – remember that we are the ones choosing! We are choosing to give our valuable time and energy to the ones that love us. It’s all up to us. This isn’t about dependence or weakness. This is about leadership, control, forging our own way, CHOICE and POWER.
And this isn’t about us being egotistical. Really, it isn’t. It’s about knowing that, realistically, some people will want us and some won’t. And then asking: What are we going to do about it?
Image credit: Daniel Pink