“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde
I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot this week. It came to my remembrance while I was thinking about an interaction that I had with someone.
I was having a conversation with an individual who made it clear to me that they view me in a way that I perceive as negative.
When they expressed their opinion of me, I stood there going through my mental lexicon trying to determine what words I could say to redeem myself.
I wanted to explain to them that I wasn’t how they perceived me.
I wanted to show them they had made an error in their judgment.
But then I slowed my breath and became mindful of my thought process and I shifted my thoughts from wanting to defend myself, to doing some self-examination as to why I felt the need to do so.
For as Byron Katie says, “defense is the first act of war”.
I realized that the reason I wanted to defend myself was because I had placed value on what they thought of me.
And clearly that value I had assigned to them at the moment in time that they shared their dismay with me superseded my own value of myself.
I had made them the judge, jury and executioner of who I was and they had placed my head on the chopping block while I was getting ready to beg for mercy.
Once I realized that somewhere along the line I had placed them on a pedestal, I immediately began the process of mentally knocking them off.
They are free to think however they choose to think about me and I am free to know who I really am.
They don’t know my story, my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my goals, my heartbreak or my pain better than I do and yet there I was prepared to try to get them to see me for who I was.
And there lies another problem.
When people make poor judgment calls on you it shows that they don’t really see you.
And their assessment says more about who they are then who you are.
When people can’t see you it’s often because they are projecting their views, their past, their pain, their hurt onto you.
They can’t see you, they see themselves and their own inner turmoil.
And I have reached a point in my life where I choose not to surround myself with people who can’t see me.
It doesn’t feel good to me and I have decided to do what feels good.
I am at a place where I have enough healthy relationships with people who I don’t have to expend my energy on unhealthy ones.
It’s not my job to convince people of anything.
They can go about thinking whatever and however they choose and I’m still going to be me.
It took me a long time to get to where I am and while I have a pattern of choosing emotionally unhealthy people to interact with I have been working diligently to break that pattern.
I still have a long way to go but that doesn’t mean I have to go back to where I was.
I have decided that if someone judges my genuine heart-felt gestures as manipulative they are not my type of person. Perhaps they are guarded, perhaps they have been lied to a lot in the past… but guess what it’s not my problem. Furthermore, it is by no means an alarm that I need to prove that I am not manipulative.
It is projected that there are 7,530,103,737 people in the world today. I find it hard to believe that I can’t find someone who cannot see me for who I really am.
Especially when I have people in my life who currently see my authentic self.
And even if I didn’t have those people and every living soul saw me dimly, I see the light in me and my sight alone is enough.
So if I deal with someone who calls me a liar when I am speaking my truth, their claim has no bearing on me.
It probably just means they are used to being lied to.
Because only a person used to dealing with impostors would fail to be able to point out the real McCoy.
When you are familiar with authenticity you know it when you see it.
I’m not in the business of proving myself to people.
I have been there, done that and I refuse to wear the T-shirt!
My job is to remain true to who I really am.
If you have read my blog for any length of time you are all too familiar with the fact that I have previously fallen into the trap of trying to convince someone outside of myself of who I really am.
Sad to say I have tried on more than one occasion to prove to another human being who was just as flawed as myself that I was “good enough”.
Ummmmm how about no.
See me, don’t see me, I’m still going to be me!
I have decided to give my time to people who can see me for who I am and who want to interact with me based on that perception.
Begging people to like me, love me, care about me and validate me is not, has not and never will be a healthy path.
I value my opinion enough not to need someone to give me a gold star and write good job on my work.
I don’t need anyone to co-sign or give me a good old stamp of approval.
Seeking external validation isn’t healthy and it makes you powerless.
I decided to let them go on living their life seeing me poorly, because at the end of the day I know who I am and I am pleased with me.
See me, don’t see me, I’m still going to be me no external validation needed!
© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.