A lot of people are ashamed. Scared. Embarrassed. Too afraid to tell their story that brought them here today. I’ve done that all of my adult life. I felt the shame from people who knew little bits of my story back in high school and before I left town. With my head hung low. Why?
Every. Single. Person. Every single person has a story. Sure, some are more graphic than others. More sad. More heartbreaking. More triumphant. More inspirational. It does not matter what size of mountain you climbed to overcome your own mind’s voice of doubt in yourself.
What matters is that you climbed it and overcame it. And understand that just because you overcame that mountain doesn’t mean it doesn’t creep back up on you or show up when you didn’t expect it like a weird unseen avalanche.
Overcoming your mountain means you have identified that which has happened. You have defined how it affected you. You have realized that you are better, stronger and more determined to be bigger than those moments of your past.
Funny thing is sometimes, when you have heard other people’s truths about their mountains they’ve overcome – that seem so much bigger than yours – you deny yourself the accolades of your story. You must embrace, acknowledge and accept your story. For better or worse. You’re stuck with yourself for a lifetime. You can’t part ways with you so embrace it and go with it. Whether you share the story, hit the road and move on or stay rooted where you are.
You see, I keep a lot of experiences of mine private. Sure, there’s people in old towns that know pieces and parts about “Oh Hey, that Heather – remember that girl that …. Insert your piece of whatever here about me”
But when I look at the people who really know the whole story, who I would allow to tell something full scope, well, it’s four. Four people.
And there’s not a day that goes by that I worry I’ve said too much but they don’t treat me any different. In fact, they encourage me to figure out what to do with it.
What do I do with the stories? Sure, maybe I could help others. I get that. And I think it really could.
But then, that mean person who never leaves my head and perpetually talks to me in my head – you know the one – that “B” that says,
“You’re a slob, how did you eat that?”
“Really, you had to have one more glass of wine, didn’t you? Idiot.”
“You are not wearing that dress. You look like a rollie pollie pig.”
“Look at yourself. Look in that mirror. What. The. Eff.”
Side story – What is a rollie pollie pig by the way? I don’t know but that mean girl in my head calls me that and I allow it. She’s awful. I would never be her friend in real life. I shall name her Buffy, the self-esteem slayer.
You know what else she tells me?
She tells me that if I admit I’m over stressed. Over worked. Tired. Emotional. Broken. If I feel like I’m at a point that I don’t want to ride the merry-go-round of the working hustle life – well, then I’m just weak. I must be weak, right? Why else would I be trying to bow out of the infamous hustle? Cause I’m a quitter. A weak quitter.
Really though? Shut up, Buffy.
I allow her to tell me that I am weak. Over and over again. I keep it to myself. I bottle it up. I say just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.
Look, I know most people can’t handle the truth. Your truth.
You can’t sit in a board room or office meeting and have an emotional outburst when one more person says something unbelievably ignorant and gets away with it. Over and over again. Or maybe you’re almost at deadline and get another big project dumped on your to-do list that is going to make you rush to pick up kids or get that thing before dinner, or forget some important family thing you promised.
Yada yada yada.
Yes, Buffy. I failed. Again.
Most people will be like, “whoa, walls up, we got a psycho lady in the group! Medicate her! She’s a freak!”
So you sit. You smile. You tell yourself to be strong and not a weak little baby.
Here’s the problem. I’m not weak. Neither are you.
I’m simply denying myself the recognition of warning signals to solve the biggest problem of all – clearing my path so I can chill out. Refuel. Recharge. Refocus. Letting it build.
I don’t condone public emotional breakdowns in front of ignorant people who have no empathy in their souls for you. If you don’t believe me, watch this fake example.
I also don’t recommend trapping everything inside so that you have to scream underwater to get all the mayhem out of your body. (Try it though, it’s pretty cool and no one can hear you). It has to come out. One way or another.
I’m saying you aren’t weak if you feel that way. You just have to be smart about what you’re going to do with all these negative feelings that need to get out of your head. Buffy included.
The best way to chip away at those feelings of WTF are to chip away at the triggers causing it.
Here’s some ideas to minimize the possibility of wrong time blow outs.
Hate your job? Don’t have any great options right now? Then quit spending money. Go on a money diet and see every place you can cut and still live. Even if you only cut 10%, or you can add more to paying off debt, bills and boy scouts and fundraisers and Tupperware parties and extra subscriptions and that picture frame at Target – you will feel a counterweight of empowerment for taking action against your problem.
Have someone in your daily life that drives you nuts again and again and they aren’t going anywhere? Figure out exact behaviors they repeat that drive you nuts and recognize when they usually do it. It’s like avoiding the same pothole everyday on your commute.
First, it changes your interaction or observation and is more like a fun research project of amusement versus a replay clip of annoyance. Second, when you see their behavioral pattern, you can decide to adjust yours. It becomes predictable.
If I know a person is going to start in with their cycle of BS that is annoying, hurtful, rude or just plain mean – I watch it like a bad movie and try to decide what the heck would motivate someone to continue and think this is acceptable behavior in the world. Then I try to see what it is they are trying to accomplish by treating people this way (even if it’s themselves) and decide how to not trigger the show for me to see and pity the fool who has become their new subject. Because it’s no longer fun to do it to me.
Best of all, I can kindly let them know. That their mean. Or hurtful. And I care about them not being so. And their tricks are ineffective on me. The kryptonite is gone.
It’s a process and believe me, Buffy is constantly reminding me that I am on medications and skin conditions for jacked up stress I’ve let myself internalize to the point of health concerns and had one too emotional breakdowns in front of my four. So what gives me the right to offer this advice to you now?
Well, for starters, because I am not weak. Well, yes I am. I am weak. But it’s a new weak.
Wisdom + Experience + Accountability + Knowledge = someone who has learned from their past to apply it to being a better person today.
So Yeah, I guess I am weak. I hope you are weak, too.
Any time someone comments on my ethics, work performance, humor, lack of micromanagement cares, humility, transparency – well, if you knew my truth – you’d probably call me weak.
I know you’d judge me. I know you may not want to talk to me anymore. You may be shocked. Or you might just totally get it and join me in being weaker together.
It’s funny how so many people live with a predisposed opinion of status symbols without ever knowing anyone’s story.
Consider being weak, and you might just become stronger than you’ve ever felt.