As a little girl, I was pretty insecure. Nearly every day some form of comparison or ranking made decisions for me about what I dared hope for.
In novels, I read about love and happy endings. But my home didn’t resemble the traditional family that usually reaped those happy rewards. Neither did many homes in my neighborhood circle. Figured my chances of a happy ending were around 50/50.
At school, I saw pretty girls. But the girl in the mirror wasn’t as pretty and therefore, not as likely to enjoy the attention of friends and playmates. Decided that maybe I could “perform” my way into friends. That was the birth of the people pleaser.
These stories aren’t shared for pity. (However, I’ll stop there so I don’t inadvertently depress you!) I share them because I’m concerned that other little girls who may be like I was, are getting labeled as, “Doin’ too much.”
The mental messages of the 80’s which kept me on an emotional roller coaster and a performance hamster wheel are nothing compared to today. Nowadays, rejection and bullying can be physical, virtual, or electronic. And, if you can’t quantify your virtual acceptance (likes, friends, followers), you barely exist. When I battled rejection, my friends passed notes and didn’t include me in slumber parties or recess cliques. Today, cyber bullying drives some children to suicide!
And if by some miracle, you survive the teenage years unscathed, there’s the uncertainty of coupling, college, and eventually, careers. Many young adults are so stressed that controlled substances are a norm.
And then, there are the so-called grown ups. Remember knowing it all in your twenties and thirties? We knew it all, even if we didn’t have it all. We imagined our “dumb days” were behind us, so we had the right to tell everyone else what they should do. Until the day you realized you were vulnerable. All your insecurities weren’t left to die on the playground.
How do you know when those insecurities want to come out to play? When you reach in your purse for gum and pull out something stupid.
And do it.
My stupidest moment came to mind the other day and I could still hear the, ‘How did you even get here?’ Thankfully, when I got the lesson, I got it for good. Growth.
We’re all on a course that began with imprints on our soul before we were old enough to recognize what was happening. Every imprint is different, with its own triggers. Even in my forty-plus-year-old wisdom, certain conversations may spark old habits, but a conversation with a good girlfriend can rein me back in.
When a friend seems to be “doing the most,” remember my stupid moment. (Take my word, it was dumb and I was old enough to know better.) Can you humbly pull her back? Depending on where she is in her journey, she may not immediately see your wisdom. You might have to share your story.