In these last couple of months, I have experienced what I feel is rejection. Trying to connect with others only to sense them putting up a wall stops me in my tracks. It can make me believe that I am unwelcome and pierces my desire to continue feeding the relationship. I then turn into a wall myself and decide to keep walking.
Because it has happened a few times lately, I understood that my stone-wall behavior was not sustainable. I can’t “shun” people because they have decided on other things. I am doing the same as I am experiencing! I know that I am not to be fully accepted by others. My self-worth is not dependent on what others think of me. Yet it can be hard for me when I reach out multiple times and there is no response back. I can’t keep my heart open indefinitely, for I need to protect it. There must be an in-between.
I was chatting with a coworker about something silly that happened regarding some blinds. I told him about my question: how do I strike a balance? He noted, “Everyone has something.” His statement challenged me to put things in perspective. I am not perfect and I am very aware of it. I know that healthy boundaries allow us to say yes or no as needed. Yet why let someone’s no totally close me off?
Last week my coworkers and I were at a work lunch to celebrate an accomplishment. Our small team was all around the table waiting to be served, and a quiet awkward moment came upon us. I dislike those so much because I turn into a chatterbox and an oversharer, not the qualities for which I want to be known. Since I had been dealing with these feelings of “to be, or not to be,” I stayed quiet. However, something took over me and encouraged me to be who I am. In that moment, I thought, “I won’t put myself in a corner. I will be who I am, and if someone doesn’t like it, so be it. I will be respectful of their decision and still smile at them. If they want to talk with me, I’ll be here, willing to share. If they don’t, I will still be here, in my big-haired glory.” I took the courage and naturally asked about personal goals for the year. We had a nice conversation that filled the time until our food came, when we then shifted to eating and stating how good our meals were.
I remembered how once my manager described me as someone who brings joy to our team. I thought that it was a very high compliment. I don’t want to stop being that person because someone might not agree on something with me and I don’t want to be exposed to discomfort again. Even though the small things make a big difference, not all the small things are important. Prioritizing what has value keeps our focus well spent and helps us discard the weeds. The weeds might be an overreaction in a discussion, not appreciating someone else’s joke, or a bad attitude towards someone who didn’t deserve it. We all have something that we are dealing with or are learning to deal with. Opt to see others as in a learning curve instead of having an established flaw. Definitely guard your heart, but be optimistic of where people are, and where you are going. Trust me, I am not a natural optimist but it is worth having hope for us and others.