| Imagine Me… |

“Thank you, for allowing me to see myself the way you see me. Thank You.”

There was a period in my life when this was a theme song for me (I know I have a new one of those every few weeks, but we won’t worry about that right now). The topic of self-esteem is something that I periodically struggle with. I find myself using minimalization as a defense mechanism. I seek out ways that I can keep myself from standing out, not wanting unnecessary attention. A manifestation of this is the recurring thought pattern that I have a minimized place in the world at large. When I’m not feeling happy, I tend to shrink into myself and become reclusive. My internal reasoning works on a rotation of the following thoughts:

  1. It will not matter if I don’t show up for this event(s).
  2. I will just bring down the mood of <insert group or event>.
  3. I am too preachy.
  4. No one cares about <insert topic I am passionate about>

In a candid conversation with my friend Laura today, I realized that these are silly assumptions to make. We talked about my tendency to find inconsistencies with other people, but ignore them for myself (duh, classic cliché much?). I tried to think of what might encourage these thoughts recently and, of course, it’s because I’m in a “less than stellar” mood lately. However, in the way of a classic encourager, I sought some examples that spit in the face of these reasonings:

  1. People do care about my presence at certain events. My friend Beth thought that I was dodging her (how silly, yet easily misinterpreted) by skipping out on events. I also had friends reach out unexpectedly, to find out how I was doing and where I was.
  2. I sent an email to my small group, explaining to them that I had been struggling for a while and wanted to let them know why I’d been missing in action. I got many replies with kind words and offers to help by praying/talking.
  3. When I get out of my own head and try to be useful, it actually happens. I have great experiences to draw from and they can be useful to people. Also, my opinions on things are not always radically different from other people’s opinions.
  4. Even though I was preaching the magnificence of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a little too long, people appreciate seeing my passions.They lead to  great conversations and help me relate to people.
Ironically, I like to think that I have a low level of impact on people. The truth is that I have a high level of influence (it’s kind of cocky sounding to write it down, but hear [read] me out). I often find myself in positions of leadership, or find myself being told about ideas that I’d brought up. It’s weird to imagine, but there is some truth to the old saying: “There is always someone watching you”. When it confronts me (and it does) I’m always thrown for a loop. Today’s conversation with Laura was one of those moments. She broke down my impact on her and it was heavy. I really appreciated hearing it and it reminded me that I can change things. I can re-imagine me and change the way I live my life.
Who would’ve thought?
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