Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I Want To Be Different

The Universe is conspiring to teach me a lesson. From every angle, even the most unlikely of sources, I am hearing: "Ask for what you want!" From my Daily Om to my ex, I'm being told to speak up.

Fuck! Ok! Gawwwwwwd.

But the thing is, I suck at it. And I don't know how to start. Here's something I read the other day from the ever-brilliant Mark Nepo that is still making me think and think:

Susan and I were sitting in an ice cream parlor when the two couples next to us began to get loud. They were just having a good time, but I was feeling a bit inward and intruded on. I felt the need to go. I leaned over to Susan and asked if she wanted to leave. She, in her contentment, said, "No, I am happy here." then seeing consternation on my face, she asked, "Do you want to go?"

In that simple moment in a booth in an ice cream parlor, I realized that for much of my forty-nine years, I have tried to take care of my needs by indirectly projecting them on those around me and then acting as if I am taking care of the other person. As the ice ream was melting, I understood myself. I laughed, shook my head, felt embarrassed , then sighed deeply, and importantly voiced the obvious, "Yes, I'd like to leave."

This indirect way of trying to get what I need by planting my feelings as needs to be attended to in those around me has been a way to hide my vulnerability, while still managing to appear as a kind and other-centered person. I realize I am not alone in this malady. It is often so subtle and so close to our healthy way of relating to others that we seldom realize the manipulation and deceit involved.

I don't want to be this way any more. It's hurtful. It's unproductive. Such a seemingly simple thing- to ask for what one wants- seems like such a huge undertaking. This is going to take a lot of practice. I think at the root of it, I don't truly believe my wants are worth voicing and that people will not like me if I am not always aiming to please them. These are two fundamental issues about my self-esteem that need direct attention- feeling unworthy and people pleasing.

It stops now.

12 comments:

Mrs. Ca said...

This is an issue that causes a lot of fights with my husband. Both of us are always asking what the other wants, but never saying what either one of us truly wants. The standard example is going out to dinner - both of us have ideas about where we want to go, but neither will voice our ideas for fear the other person has somewhere they'd rather go. It's annoying and we're trying to stop doing this, but it's too easy to try to please others. Just the other day I spoke up for what I really wanted and felt bad about it for the rest of the day. I need to get over that. Good luck with your similar venture.

gorillabuns said...

my mantra is speaking up for myself in situations that really matter. otherwise, i feel pretty crappy because everyone else is looking out for themselves and really don't give a damn about anyone else other than themselves.

this way, i don't feel dejected all the time.

does this make sense at all?

Jenny said...

the signs sure are strong...sounds like big changes and transition are ahead... good for you!((((hugs))))

Egan said...

This is great discovery Ms. Sizzle. It's not easy to dig deep and come to these conclusions, but I sense a breakthrough is in your future.

I sound like a fortune cookie. Good luck breaking free and happy Turkey Day.

Claire said...

Good for you. I've had invisibility on my mind of late as a distilled word for being unobtrusive, hanging back, not being seen in one way or another. I'm still working it out in my head, but it's similar/related to what you're talking about here. Thanks for sharing.

and happy early thanksgiving!

Bone said...

You almost always give me something to think about. I'll be thinking about this one for awhile.

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving, Ms. Sizzle.

JustRun said...

I'm glad you ended that with "it stops now" because you know what? It just does. There's no secret, no plan of action, you just do it.

You decide to do it and you practice doing it and it just happens. You have draw backs and set backs and pissed off people but you know what, you do it anyway. You just do.

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving, ma'am, you deserve it!

Dustin said...

A little selfishness is totally under-rated.

I'm still trying to teach myself to own up to the things I really want.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is your personal blog but have you ever seriously considered therapy?

Solnichka Frankenstein said...

Nessy, fight it and get some help. You know how hard it was for me to break the same habits? HARD. PAINFUL. But I am happier now than I ever have been, because I learned the lessons the hard way. But you have to WANT it. Don't stay where you are simply because it is familiar. That's the domestic abuse victim pattern: you stay with what you know how to manage. Break the chains of self-imposed bondage, get therapy if you need to, but TAKE A STAND and MAKE A CHOICE to be happy. You're an amazing person, and I know you can do this.

Bex said...

good luck. from what i can tell after reading your blog for a long time, you are stronger than you think. we all have hurdles to overcome, and like lots of your other readers, i totally emphasize with this issue. but you are worth it, don't diminish yourself and your needs. i'm glad to hear that it stops now. happy thankgsiving!

Melissa said...

I can change my hair, my car, my job, my look, my address... but changing my behaviors is a stone cold bitch. If I didn't like my rut at least a little I wouldn't be in it.