Thursday, July 7, 2011

Affirmation Begins Within

I have this gift that draws people to me like flies to shit. When they draw near they tell me things - things that maybe they didn't know was bothering them.   I listen and most of the times I will even offer their words of wisdom back to them. 

I believe we are our own best counsel but we rarely listen to ourselves.  So I do; listen to them.

I don't work as a psychiatrist. I don't even have the training nor credentials. This doesn't stop people, however, from confessing their inner most buried secrets. 
Atlas Shunned

I can say this gift came in handy when I was a television reporter and interviewed strangers - even officials. They would hold me in their confidence and give me leads that I wouldn't have otherwise received to uncover stories.  

They perceived me as trustworthy - and there lies the rub.   If I, or, anyone is perceived to be worthy of trust, with this bestowal of honor often comes great expectations. Not so much from passing strangers but from those who spend a lot of time with me such as associates, loved ones, friends and family.

When we trust someone, we believe we are safe.  We believe there is a chance for unconditional love i.e., we believe those we trust will not judge us.  For the most part, this is true.   There is no judgment but often times there is no affirmation either.

It's affirmation that we seek the most. 
From Merriam-Webster:  Affirm: a) to validate, conform b) to state positively
We desire people to validate traits that we ourselves won't. We want people to love us warts and all - but we don't think it's necessary to describe or even reveal our warts.  So instead those who are close to us are inevitability walking through minefields - never knowing when we are going to trip one. 

This is the flip-side of my gift; the curse of my blessing is I have this uncanny ability to identify the very thing a person tries to hide from the world about them.  I seem to have a divining rod which can touch that vein that is their sore spot. Once I hit that nerve I can send people screaming and running away from me like I was carrying the SARS virus. 

You know that saying "S/he rubs me the wrong way” Yeppers that's me.  

I'm fine knowing that now. In fact, I know I make those around me crazy and I'm alright with it.  The first step to getting to positive affirmation i.e. really love myself was to first name or identify what I really didn't like about me.   I didn't like the “me” who seemed to hurt the people I professed to love. 

I remember one time I went to Weber Grill with a man I really liked. While we were waiting for our meal, and after watching a Server assist one of her diners, I confessed, 
 "I don't think I could ever do a service job. I don't have the patience to deal directly with the public.
When I looked up and into my friend's eyes I saw a level of hurt and anger that I had seen in so many eyes before his after I'd gone off on one of my diatribes.  

I didn't know that his job as a chauffeur bothered him. I never saw him as anyone other than my friend. He was not his job. No one is their job as far as I'm concerned.  A job is something you do not who you are.  

Unbeknownst to me, however, he felt less than working as a chauffeur.  I should have known it too because he initially told me he was videographer.  

So when I brought his perceived weakness to the surface - he was hurt and it damaged our friendship.   

I couldn't affirm for him what he hadn't affirmed for himself.

This brings me to the point of this post - if we haven't reconciled what we perceive as a shortcoming or weakness then how can we expect anyone else to accept it.  

Affirmation begins within and I can assure you, it has nothing to do with positive thinking. It is about letting go of the pretense, taking off the mask and just accepting your limitations so that you can exceed them. 

By the way, I did take a service job - and I do have the patience to deal with the public. I've learned it is an honor to serve, even if I still attract flies like I’m da shit. 

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