Tuesday, August 2, 2005

To Thine Own Self...

Growing up I was always fed the same lines.  Be respectful to your elders.  Do unto others as you would have done to you.  If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  Always keep your words soft and sweet, for you never know which ones you'll have to eat.  What goes around, comes around.  Be true to yourself.

It was always the last one that got me.

For I discovered as the years went by, that in order to practice the former, I had to ignore the latter.  It never failed.  In all my dealings with people, I kept those guidelines in mind, ever hopeful, ever optimistic.  Generally disappointed.  As a child I thought everyone knew these rules, and therefore everyone played by them.  On the playground I learned I was wrong.  Children can be cruel sometimes, and I soon learned that 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.'  I thought that and I said that, but it wasn't what I felt.

Because it's all about acceptance.

That's all we want, isn't it?  To be accepted, as we are, for who we are.  As long as we don't harm anyone, what difference does it make?  Nobody's perfect.  All my life I have fought to hang on to the beliefs by which I was raised, those 'golden rules.'  I still do.  Yet time and time again I found myself wondering if my parents were wrong in what they taught me.  They didn't teach me to stand up for myself, I had to learn that outside the home, the hard way.  They raised me to be submissive, to be a 'good' girl; life raised me to be assertive...at times to be a bitch.  My experiences caused such an inner turmoil I often felt like an unbelted passenger on a wild roller coaster ride, hanging on to the seat...the sides...anything...for dear life.  And I love roller coasters.  But not this kind.  It's that slamming back and forth, against the sides, the sudden feeling of flying helplessly through the air and crashing back down on the seat.  Left me feeling battered and bruised.  Confused.  Not fun.

Why?

I've been told I'm too sensitive.  Too sensitive.  I can walk into a room and immediately sense the mood, the feelings of the people in the room.  Sometimes I absorb those feelings, when I should be protecting myself against them.  On those occasions when I absorb the feelings, and they are negative, I am aloof and standoffish toward those individuals.  Interaction with negative people will lead to a negative moment.  In an act of self-preservation, I avoid them.  If they are in a bad mood, I have no desire whatsoever to be in their space.  Why should I subject myself to that?  But sometimes you can't avoid them, because like it or not, someone will put themself right in your space, with one goal in mind.  To catch you off guard and throw you off balance.  There are people who honestly delight in such activities, I think it makes them feel better.  Try as I may, I can not wrap or align myself around that line of thinking or behavior.  It's like a foreign language and I don't understand it.  I don't want to.

Those times I stood up for myself generally backfired on me.  Whether my motive was misunderstood, or emotions were just too high at that time, I found myself on the losing end of a bad situation.  I felt alone, out- numbered, out-witted, out-cast, with no recourse in my favor.  Sooner or later, the truth will be known, but for now I will concede.  Remember the 'golden rules.'  I hate those moments, because in an effort to be true to myself, something went amiss, and I ended up be-traying myself.   I always tell myself this is just another test.  Another test of my character; if I do it right, I will be a better person in the long run.

This I know to be true.  Life is about learning.  But sometimes I wonder which learning curve I'm on and whether or not I'm in the right class.

Am I still a student...or maybe I became a student teacher... 

9 comments:

pixiedustnme said...

Oh so much of that is true!  I hope someday soon you can find the syllabus you are supposed to be following!

emfeasel said...

Dogone if you and I haven't been on the same page lately!  E

grofsand said...

Hi Dona.......You are finding that "experience" is the best teacher. If we listen close enough to lessons of "experience" we gain wisdom and knowledge.
 You will find that your parents were correct in what they were preaching to you...You know in your heart that whereever you went in life, you were putting your best foot forward.
  Tests are good (not fun nor enjoyable)...they should provoke us to think and take action....that is to be better prepared for the next test.
  Sounds as if you have been tested ..re tested....stretched ...and tried,...Look you're still standing tall, and providing love and encouragement to others....  That's a passing grade in anyones book!
  Along with the "A"...you get a :) !  Marc :)

delela1 said...

Pixie - a syllabus would really help...now...someday...it would help.

E - you too...if I ever make it to DC, me and Jose Cuervo will be knocking on your door!

Marc - all you say is true, I feel it and I know it.  It is foremost on my mind.  I always walk away thinking, 'What can I learn from this...?"  But some recent events just didn't make any sense...even after many, many years...I'm still searching for the purpose of it all.  Funny you should mention I get the "A"...

stupidsheetguy said...

I was always, for lack of a better word, "submissive" by nature, mainly because people seemed to be much happier when they got their own way, and oftentimes, I didn't care enough either way to put up a fight in any situation. The problem is, being that way somehow leads you up against "control freaks" (again for lack of a better term), and in those situations, you give and bend and take until you can't tolerate any more. Then, when you object, YOU'RE the bad guy.

I have learned. I've cleaned a lot of people out of my life, including my ex wife, because I figured it out..."submissive" = "doormat".

I haven't turned the opposite way, let's just say I might be better described now as "congenial" at best.

But I am completely empathetic here with what you're getting at. It is about acceptance. I just figured out it's better to choose the places you're accepted in.


Jimmy

karebear4x4 said...

Acceptance is also accepting yourself for who you are and what You stand for   keep your golden rules and know this is a part of who you are   this separates you from others :-)   and you don't have to tolerate others who are not like you   i learned in standing up for myself, i was standing up for what i believe in   you're not the bad guy, you're better, not accepting Their 'norms'    Live in what you believe in, not others   they truly need to take a hike!~kbear

justaname4me2 said...

Being true to oneself, well, I know I haven't yet mastered such a tricky motto. I don't know what the secret to that little sentence is, but someday, I do hope to find out. Sensitive is something I know I am. Overtly I'm sure, but it also has it's good parts. Doing right though, by others is easy enough, doing right by ourselves, now thats the concept I struggle the most with...........
Rebecca

delela1 said...

Jimmy - Bad guy, BINGO!  Guess people don't like it when the "doormat" stands up.  And sometimes one can't choose the places, especially when family is the place we are in.  No, I haven't turned the opposite way either...congenial, yeah.  Thats me too.  The goodness in my heart is who I am and I have no desire to change that, for it has been my saving grace...my survival.  It helps me to rise above the pettiness of others.  After I've been hurt.

Kare - You are correct in many ways.  Words of wisdom.  But sometimes we do have to tolerate others who do not like us, in the workplace and within family structures.  It's a fact of life.  You just can't please everybody.  But you can show them another way, and if they are paying attention all the better.  If not, it is their loss.

Rebecca - Maybe that's why we're here, to master such a tricky motto.  I don't always expect to get it right, it's just living with the frustration of knowing I've been through those situations so many times before, and yet somehow just when I'm getting comfortable, my guard is down and I'm relaxed...BAM!  I get broad-sided.  Every time.   Maybe I need to broaden my peripheral vision...

st0rmwhispers said...

Beautiful entry.  I've always been a rule breaker I guess, but I've mellowed out with the years.  The most important rule is to do unto others as you would have them do on to you...oh and never throw the first punch.