As I sat for coffee with a new-ish friend and fellow yogi, I suddenly found myself spilling my guts about my entire life to him. I felt so comfortable that I easily revealed something that only my subconscious was aware of - and due to a year of intense self-analysis and self-discovery - I too am very conscious of it now.
I kept noticing patterns in the way I reacted to conversations and daily situations that pricked at me for some reason. I didn't really understand why certain things would set me off or put me in a bad mood.
"They're not listening. They don't get me. I'm just going to stop talking," I kept repeating to myself.
It just kept happening, time and time again. After much time and vulnerability, I found the source of so many of my ways of being.
Before I go ahead and "go live" with this, I want to please ask you to have a compassionate and understanding heart. This isn't easy for me to admit and a huge part of me (the fearful part) is throwing up red flags begging me not to do this. But, as it's the end of the year, and I always like to wipe my slate clean to start a new year void of all attachments, I need to do this. Here goes.
It turns out I have a huge sensitivity about how intelligent (or not intelligent) I'm perceived. At the risk of sounding like a baby, I'm pretty sure it stems from being jealous of the attention and praise my brother always got. Don't get me wrong, I was showered with loving remarks and positive affirmation - and my brother and I are the best of friends, truly - but for some reason, our differences always made it seem as if he was better than me. We were both athletic, we were both loving, we were both funny, we were both adventurous, etc. The only differences between my brother and I were our interests. And he'd always get more attention for his. So, from a very young age, I associated his interests with intelligence, and furthermore, I linked intelligence with praise.
It was the only variable between us, therefore, in my eyes, the only possible reason he'd get more of what I wanted - perceived love.
And this is how it shows up in my life nowadays: It's more than simply, "Oh, she's smart," or "Yeah, no…. She's not smart." It's about the small moments in conversations when a friend doesn't ask me about something-or-another and instead asks another friend present. It's moments when people question my business and its value to the world as if implying it's not a "smart" career to choose. It's in the way other people are celebrated for tangible results and I have yet to hear words of affirmation for what I bring to the table on a daily basis. It's the baffled looks I get when I admit I don't really know much about this band or that political candidate. It's the sense of inadequacy I feel in a group setting that's concerned with taxes and laws and news and numbers and facts and names and history and authors and AHHHHH!!!!! It's overwhelming. And it's also completely personal and has nothing to do with the other people present - my logical mind knows that. It's an insecurity I'm acutely aware of and it's something I'm working on to not take personally. To state the obvious, it also has nothing to do with my brother. (By the way, if you're reading this, you know you're my hero and I admire you for everything. Giving me Rudy would make this all go away… hehe).
I'm writing this post because I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. I'm not talking about "not feeling smart enough" specifically. I'm talking about having the feeling of not being heard or not being known. It's a heart-wrenching feeling, I know! All I want is for people to get me - to know me, but they seem concerned with other things and are sometimes closed-off to what I have to say. It's taken a long time for me to realize and accept that I don't have to be like everyone else in order to get x, y and z.
It's okay if some people don't get you. Hell, it's actually okay if NO ONE fucking gets you. Even if it's the closest people to you. You know why? It just doesn't matter!
THIS IS WHAT MATTERS:
Being a good person.
Discovering your purpose in life.
Following your dreams.
Sharing your gifts with the world.
Being a kind person.
Bringing love to the table.
Showing compassion to all beings.
That's what it's all about! If you're a doctor, if you have a photographic memory, if you're into reading encyclopedias for pleasure, if you have a thing for math, if you're a history buff, if you love the law or if you can recite the classics, then YAY for you!!! If you're a songwriter, if you're into crystals and their healing powers, if you just want the world to know peace, if you're a life coach, if you want to be a yoga teacher, if you want to travel the world or if you want to learn as many languages as possible, then YAY for you too!
There's no one box that everyone will fit into. It's important to explore your options, get to know what you like and don't like, figure out what you're good at and, most importantly, find out what makes your heart smile and sing - and do that! Who cares what others around you do?
Hold your ground. Be good at being you. Once you act from a place of detachment from the results (an important lesson in Yoga and life), chances are people will get it - and people will get you, even if they don't.
I'll leave you with this last thought: If you had the world's attention, what would you say, what would you do?