I've just been reading through some of the last posts and found that I still owe you an account of the recent highschool reunion I went to! So, as promised in The Perfect Myth
, here goes:I was nervous, but I brought help: a little Dutch courage and a great friend. Of course, the timing of this event was great, too. It was just one week after my Coaching Seminar, in which I had such a great time and ample opportunity to learn about myself, my reaction to others and their possible reactions to me, so its effects were still palpable. The knowledge that I am good just the way I am and that what I do is sufficient went a long way in making me feel confident. This self-esteem or self-respect if you will empowered me to basically just go in there head held high and confront some of those bad memories I have of my school days.Alas, the guys who had worst offended me weren't there. I can only speculate that their presence wouldn't have made a difference, because I had fun and once I was there, the fear and nervousness was gone. There were a couple of moments when I wanted to fall back into my old teenager-habits of pleasing others by making myself as insignificant as possible, but that's when my friend swooped in and sang my praises. I never could deal well with compliments, but I'm learning to accept them gracefully when they're bestowed. The way I see it, it's the greatest compliment that someone special thinks just as highly of you as you do of them - so why fight it?
In the end, I had the chance to reconnect with childhood friends and I'm also more or less up-to-date in terms of village-gossip. What was most interesting though was to find out that people I thought never liked me when we were young now came up to me and we had nice conversations. I'm pretty sure I didn't imagine their hostile attitudes all those years ago, so what has changed? We've grown older and wiser and just want to get along with everybody? Perhaps. Or is it that my own attitude has changed and that maybe they're still behaving the same way but I'm now listening with different ears? I'm not ready and willing anymore to take any and every criticism to heart and think they're right. I now refuse to accept evaluations and comments about my behaviour as absolute truths and put-downs of my person. I understand now that kids sometimes lash out not because they're evil but out of uncertainty and insecurity.
I'm not saying all is well and miraculously everybody went from hating to loving me. I'm sure some people still can't stand my guts, and that's ok. What I'm saying is, I've found a way to deal with that fact. And if I can, so can you. There simply is no pleasing everybody, and it may help to keep in mind that there are people you don't like either. After all, we can't change other people, we can only change ourselves, our attitudes. Once you're ok with yourself, once you find that esteem and respect for yourself, the stuff other people say about you won't knock you off balance so easily.
I invite you this week to think about things you can do to feel good about yourself. In case you get stuck, call a friend. :-)
Til next time!