The Defense Rests – Thoughts on letting go of the need to defend yourself.
Let me say now I’m the most exhausting combination of a wordsmith, thinker, and outward processor. One thing I’ve hated for my entire life is being misunderstood or, even worse, erroneously blamed for something.
I immediately leap to my defense, complete with a 30-minute monologue, pie charts, white paper, and any visual aid I can build out of legos. Also, I only felt validated in my defense for the longest time if the offending party agreed with me and came to my way of thinking. That doesn’t work on Twitter at ALL!
Do you want to know how many times that 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, I assume the same view of myself as the person doing the viewing. Shame 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 pretty 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: constant validation of my 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 think about myself. 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 many very famous and influential people. When I first came on the political scene a decade 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 about myself and post photos of all these people I’m around anymore is that I don’t love myself as I should. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt was not said in any malicious manner whatsoever. But, I wanted to defend myself as to why I didn’t and began to do that. Well, sort of, if you don’t count this blog post! But I knew the only answer was letting it go and acknowledging my valid reasons for why I don’t.
I’ve just changed over the years. I enjoy flying under the radar in the world of politics. I’m an executive producer, and I run some high-level interviews. I find it funny when an interviewee sashays into a room and doesn’t give me the time of day. Without understanding, at that moment, in that situation, I am the one holding all the cards with the power to make it unforgettable. I should be their best friend.
There are some I genuinely admire, which in my brain is even more reason not to go total fangirl and beg for a photo for some shameless self-promotion. I enjoy the feeling of being on equal footing. I can admire them, treat them as worthy colleagues, and not place myself in a one-down position.
But, the biggest reason, I genuinely enjoy taking the experiences to heart and validating myself with an internal, “Wow, this is cool.” I pat myself on the back when it goes well, and I appreciate my efforts. I don’t have to have any outside validation to help me realize those incredible 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 fangirl. However, if I ever randomly run into Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame, expect a photo of me with a tear-streaked face splashed upon every social media outlet. 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.