Thoughts on letting go of the need to defend yourself.
Let me just say now I’m the most exhausting combination of wordsmith, thinker, and outward processor. One thing I’ve hated for my entire life is being misunderstood or even worse, erroneously blamed for something.
That’s when I immediately leap to my defense complete with 30-minute soliloquy, pie-charts, white papers, and any visual aid I can build out of legos. Also, for the longest time, I only felt validated on my defense if the offending party agreed with me and came to my way of thinking. That doesn’t work on Twitter at ALL!
You want to know how many times that actually happened? How about never. People believe what they believe and that is that.
I allowed their opinion to determine my guilt or innocence. I put the power in their hands. Worse even, I assume the same view of myself as the person doing the viewing. Guilt and insecurity prevailed.
And why was what they thought so important to me? Because their approval or lack thereof determined my value and worth, or so I thought.
Enter today. I started the day off with a great quote and realized that now, I am quite done with all of that.
I once thought I could control other people’s opinions and thoughts by effectively making my case. But I learned one of the great lessons in life is a constant validation of my own thoughts, actions, parenting, cooking, and looks without any apologies. I don’t care what you choose to believe about me. Because I KNOW what I believe about me. And controlling people’s thoughts and opinions of me, is frankly none of my business.
I work in politics. And in my job, I’m around a lot of very famous and powerful people. When I first came on the political scene a decade or so ago, I would feverishly work to get photos with said politicos and splash them proudly all over social media. LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! See how important I am? See how valuable I am?
A friend of mine this week said that they thought the reason I don’t brag on myself and post photos of all these people I’m around anymore is because I don’t love myself like I should. Which I know beyond any shadow of a doubt was not said in any malicious manner what-so-ever. But, I found myself wanting to defend as to why I don’t and began to do that. Well, sort of, if you don’t count this blog post! But I knew the only answer was in letting it go and acknowledging my true reasons as to why I don’t.
I’ve just changed over the years. I actually enjoy flying under the radar in the world of politics. I’m an executive producer and I run some high-level interviews and I find it funny when an interviewee sashays into a room and doesn’t give me the time of day. Without understanding, in that moment, in that situation, I am the one holding all the cards with the power to make it amazing. I should be their best friend.
There are some I truly admire, which in my brain, is even more reason not to go full fan girl and beg for a photo for some shameless self-promotion. I enjoy the feeling of being on equal footing. I can admire them and treat them as a worthy colleague and not place myself in the one down position.
But, the biggest reason, I truly enjoy taking the experiences to heart and validating myself with an internal, “Wow, this is really cool.” I give myself a pat on the back for when it goes well and I appreciate my own efforts. I don’t have to have any outside validation to help me realize those cool moments in my life. I give them to myself. (Not saying that I’m not overjoyed when my bosses are happy!)
I’m not saying I won’t ever go full fan girl. If I ever randomly run into Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame expect a full photo of me with a tear streaked faced splashed upon every social media outlet I’ve ever heard of. And yes, I’m going to think that it makes me special not to mention an absolute bad-ass simply by proxy.
But, if you disagree, well then, I will let you think what you think, and I’ll refuse to try and change your mind. I’ll know it. And Robert Plant will know it. And that’s all I need.