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November 23, 2010

I’ve spent the last week or two wallowing in self-pity, overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. I’ve been looking at other people’s blogs and yearning for their life. Their talent. Their poise. Their spunk. Their sense of calm. Their professionalism. Popularity. Their perfect pages. Amazing drawings. Fun personalities. I can go on and on.

I’ve learned over the years that my mood and sense of self can move in waves. When I am feeling good, I am optimistic, driven, energetic, and kind. But when I am on a negative cycle, I can be depressed, whiny and insecure. I can look at what’s around me and take the very best of others and line it up against the very worst of myself. Where there’s no chance I could ever measure up.

This is where I’d been lately. Even though I know jealousy and worry are completely wasted emotions, I was still unable to pull myself out of it. I looked at everything from a negative point of view. Someone would tweet or write a message about someone else and I would take it all personally. Make it about me and my shortcomings. I’d look for hidden messages in everything. I’d get bitter that so and so hasn’t written back to me yet and it must mean that they secretly hate me. On and on and on.

Two days ago, I was on the phone with my friend Tonya and whining to her about one of these concerns in my head. About feeling like life was just not fair to me. In a single sentence, she was able to change my perspective and allow me to look at my situation in a completely different way so that what I was sad about actually looked like a blessing. It was so simple and so obvious in retrospect but because I’ve been wallowing, I hadn’t seen it at all. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since because it’s the perfect example of the biased lenses I’ve been wearing for the last few weeks.

While her comment was helpful for that situation, it wasn’t enough to get me out of my pity-party. I was still feeling sorry that I wasn’t thinner, more talented, able to draw or write or do some of the millions of things I really wish I could. In the end, it’s really about being popular. Just like high school. Blogs, twitter, facebook are very much like high school to me. People link to each other and talk about each other and I sit there and watch them from the outside. On a sound day, I can tell it makes perfect sense that they talk to each other since that’s how I found them. One linked to the other cause they were friends. Then I follow both and then they talk about each other cause they’ve been friends all along. Before the internet this happened over the phone in the privacy of their homes. Now it happens in front of my eyes and I get to be a voyeur. I get to feel like an outsider all over again. Let me tell you the feelings that brings up…..not good ones.

Anyhow, back to my pity-party. Fundamentally, I was feeling sad about not being popular. Because as we all know, that’s the answer to everything. We all yearn to be loved and be worthy. How better to measure that than by all the numbers the internet gives you? My readers, my facebook friends, my twitter followers, there are numbers everywhere. And all they scream to me is: you are not enough. Not good enough. Not popular enough. Not loved enough.

Oh yes, it’s been that kind of a week.

or two.

And then this morning, I woke up and read this post by Amy about how she lost her father-in-law. But, as many of Amy’s posts are, it was eloquent and about so much more. Amy ends her post with these words:

People die. One day it will be my turn, and a last blessing of Kent’s passing is this feeling in me: get up. Do better. Experience more. Stop wasting time. Live.

And it was the kick in the rear I needed. It’s time to stop wallowing. Life’s short. It’s time to get up and do better. It’s time to dive into the things I want to do. Stop worrying about the popularity contests and invest into things more deeply. To the people I love and people who love me. To things I want to learn. Things I want to master. Ironically, I also realized I need to slow down. Just like it’s not about the number of people who like you, it’s not about the number of things I accomplish. It’s not about numbers at all. It’s not about quantity. It’s about quality. Deep, caring connection. True enjoyment and satisfaction. It’s not just about living fully and doing more. It’s also about living more deeply.

So, once again, I am choosing joy. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of these cycles, it’s that it ends when I choose to end it.

And it’s time.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2010 2:55 pm

    =^..^= beautiful. just. beautiful.
    So true … so well expressed.

    It makes one sit up and think. About what is important.
    Live deeply. Yes. Attend to what is really important.

    The choice is ours. Pay attention.
    This moment is your life.

  2. November 25, 2010 10:27 am

    I think a pity party once in a while is a totally human thing. We aren’t perfect enough not to have them ! But we are enough…
    I have had to really stop looking at those numbers, and comparing myself to others. There will always be someone more successful than me, “cooler” than me, richer than me, more talented than me, and more popular than me. But there will never ber another ME. This is my one precious life and I get to choose the attitude I want to live in with. Switching to the attitude of gratitude ain’t always easy but man, it makes life feel a whole lot less pitiful and a whole lot more sweet !
    May you find lots of joy there for you to choose from !
    Cheers !

  3. November 25, 2010 4:32 pm

    Funny you should write those words because I so often look at YOUR work and wish I was as talented, sought after, successful etc. It’s all perspective. I’m coming off a week of a horrible virus that left me unable to do anything. I am grateful for regaining my health one inch at a time today. Again, all perspective.

  4. M Payne permalink
    November 26, 2010 2:24 pm

    I too had a pity party week last week – must have been something in the cosmos. All your words rang completely true with how I feel about facebook and blogging – I’m so caught up in who comments and how many people “like” my status updates that I have effectively started doing it for them instead of for myself. I feel like I’m losing my own voice and a week like last week shook me up and I’m trying to change my perspective as well. Appreciating things for the good things instead of being pulled down in the details and the negativity that I can envelope myself in so well. Your blog always brings me new inspiration and a feeling of relief that there are other people out there doing and feeling the same – I’m not a total nutcase!
    can’t wait to read how you are able to feel life more deeply – I’m going to work on it as well. The Holidays seem like a good time to start!
    Perspective shift time.

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