Ever have something happen that mentally takes you back to a place of hidden insecurities? That was the case for me this week – twice. I was brought back to a place I’ve worked hard to visit less and less frequently over the last several years.
What happened is not important (and one incident has since been resolved), but the feelings are. Feelings of having my voice disregarded and devalued. I’m soft spoken and generally fly under the radar, so it’s not unusual that I’m often overlooked. I’m typically happy to sit back and observe instead of participate. Rarely do I make an effort to jump in and share for fear of leaving myself open to ____?
You’d probably finish the sentence with “criticism”. You’d be partially right. The more appropriate answer is “not being heard”. That overrides the fear of criticism any day. It takes herculean effort for me to speak up and share my thoughts. So when I do and it’s dismissed as if I’d never spoken, I revert to lockdown protective mode (from the world). While I’m protected from the world, it’s hard to be from myself. I often spend that mental and emotional seclusion time berating myself as a fool for trying. A fool for forgetting what happens when I open up. An optimistic idiot hoping history will repeat itself with different and better results.
It takes me a long time and a lot of prayer to emerge from that head space. I was there earlier but was determined not to make it a long-term visit.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said (at least according to the streets aka the Internet), “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
*Leaning over and grabbing the consent form back. I’m not signing it.*