Wow… it feels interesting to yell that out loud.
“I said stop it! I ‘m warning you!”
I’ve got my finger out and I’m ready to pounce. But what if they continue?
“If you don’t stop, I’ll get someone to make you stop!”
So I have some power… but only to threaten with the power of others… no. This isn’t going to work…
I’m going back. Waaaay back to when I was in grade 4 and 5. Back to the days where I could not stand up for myself because I did not know how to. Oh, I was told to stand up for myself. I was told to say things and do things that ultimately did not resonate with me. And, to this day, if things don’t resonate with me, I can’t do them. Ok, I can but I choose not to because I don’t believe in their value.
I was not one to fight. I hit my brother on occasion and we would fight but only because he was smaller than me and I knew I could take him. But peers? No way. They not only had the physical advantage but the psychological as well (that happens with low self-esteem, btw). So I did not want to fight. But I’ll tell you what I was one to do: hug. Oh man, I could hug anyone for any reason. Why? Because hugging filled me with a feeling of comfort and love, something I could and to this day, can never get enough of.
Not being able to fight back was tough. Kids threw words at me and all I could do was soak them up like a sponge. You say I’m a nerd. Okay, I guess I’m a nerd. And it wasn’t fun being a nerd as I was the only one.
It makes sense and I’m sure it’s more common that I could have believed. Imagine all of us people who feel alone. If we were thrust into a room together, who would be the first to say “I don’t belong here”?
So how do I deal with my past? I can say “they’re just kids. They didn’t know any better and they probably don’t remember anything they said to you.” Okay, that’s fine and good, but I’m still carrying around this outcast feeling inside of me and that is what is important here. It’s not what they did, it’s how I won’t let go. And there’s a reason I’m not letting go: it’s because I don’t want to let myself be treated like that again.
Wow. So I’m holding on to all of this pain and frustration to make sure I don’t experience the same pain and frustration that I’m feeling ALL THE TIME?
What the aitch?
That makes very little sense when I say it out loud. In my head, it’s perfectly justified but in reality, I’m punishing myself for not reacting the way I wanted to react back then but couldn’t.
Alright, how did I want to react back then? Did I want to yell back (refer to the top of the article for things I might have said)? Not really, what I wanted was to understand why they said the things they did (can you see how my career in psychology is deep rooted?). And if I ask myself that question: why would I want to say rude things to somebody? I only get one answer: because I don’t feel good about myself and transferring my unhappiness to someone else may seem like a good idea but it doesn’t leave. I’m still stuck with that same lousy feeling.
What do I do when I’m feeling lousy (besides blog about how to get out of it)? I look for someone to talk to and try to connect.
People will do what they do in order to connect. So if someone’s saying things I don’t like, I can use my feelings to remind me that they’re looking for a connection to make them feel better. Ok, I like that. I can use that to my advantage because I don’t want to fight with someone to connect.
Is it as simple as offering a hug? Let me try it out:
“You sound like you’re having a bad day… do you need a hug?”
Oh. Wow. I just got warm fuzzies through my entire body and a huge smile leapt onto my face. I think I found my response. I can definitely remember this when someone is saying something I’m not too fond of. And this way, I can disarm them and fill myself with a feeling that I want to hold on to.
So do I have any reason to carry around some outdate mode of protection? No, it no longer serves me and I feel much better having a new strategy and a shift in how I perceive myself as someone who can belong anywhere. I belong because I connect with people. I belong because we are all connected.