brian and i spent a wonderful evening with old friends the other night. what came to me so effortlessly was listening and sharing, catching up on the latest happenings with our grown kids, the usual chatter. on the way home, brian asked me why it was so easy for me to engage in conversation. he then went on to share that he had been struggling all evening, and that he has battled this feeling all his life. that he was good at looking ‘normal’ because he’s practiced trying to fit in for nearly 60 years.
you would never have guessed it. he gave no clue that he was having a difficult time. each time i looked across the table, he was engaged and listening with great interest, sometimes joking, sometimes laughing, something he loves to do.
i remembered my days when i was super aware of what other people were thinking about me. it kept me closed and afraid. i always felt i was on the outside, wishing i could participate, but feeling no one would be interested. as i asked him to describe what he was feeling as he sat there looking and acting perfectly at ease, he shared the feeling of having to sit in that same uncomfortable place of judgement, that place of insecurity and loss of connection with his inner soul, the lack of peace.
i realized that his need to be alone so much was so he didn’t have to experience that place of insecurity. when alone he could sit with his inner voice of self-doubt, and not have to experience conflict being around people who are validating his self worth. it’s the practice of believing in his goodness that he fears.
it was the practice of being around others who love me that allowed me to move out of my place of self doubt. it doesn’t happen over night. it a choice i had to make. as i wanted to get to know that part of me, i had to face my fear, and fall in love with that part of me that was unfamiliar and uncomfortable, i had to fall in love with my true self. i had to face my doubts full on, surround myself with people who love me, and practice everyday that i am loved and lovable.
brian’s been practicing all his life, but he’s been practicing the mantra, ‘why am i so different? no one understands me. i’ll never fit in. no one loves me because i’m not worthy of being loved.’
it’s a very different mantra from ‘i accept that i am different. everyone is different. there is no ‘fitting in,’ it’s about being accepted the way i am. i am loved for who i am. i love who i am.’