Straight from my journal, live and in living print.
I let fear dictate my life. I try to control my attachments to things and people so that I can’t be affected if I lose them. I sometimes tone down or re-route my ambitions so I won’t be setting myself up for disappointments or failures. I might deny myself an experience if I think the risk is too high. I don’t think trying to be responsibly cautious with attachments, ambitions and other decisions is bad, but I know it can be harmful if there isn’t any reasonable balance. Balance is something I struggle to have; I’m such an extreme personality, but that’s another journal for another day. I think different areas of my life have been stunted or are stagnant because I let my fears overwhelm me. It doesn’t help that I’m a control freak on top of that; hell, I’m a control freak just so bad things won’t happen.
I recently had the epiphany that I’m both afraid to have ambitions and afraid not to have them. I really should be working in media. I’m a writer and a music nerd; it’s only fitting. However, I’ve convinced myself that those dreams are untouchable and if I put a lot of energy toward it, I’m going to be deeply disappointed, feel like a failure and lost because I can’t execute my passions. I say all the time that I should find a way to be content with a run-of-the-mill, less entertaining, more practical, every day job and/or life because that’s inevitably what’s going to happen. Find a way to be happy with settling, so when that day comes, I won’t despise my life. On the flip side, I’m scared to not have ambitions for fear I’ll be shoulda’-coulda’ woulda’ ing, stuck in monotony and not living my best life, as Oprah would say.
Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey
“I talked to 30,000 people on this show (The Oprah Winfrey Show) and they all had one thing in common. They all wanted validation. Everyone you meet wants to know “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?”-Oprah Winfrey
Oprah said many quotable things during the final episode of her talk-show series, but out of all of them, I feel this one applies to everyone. We all may seek validation in different ways from different people, but the fact remains that we seek it…crave it. No one wants to feel invisible, invalidated, taken for granted or worthless. We want to feel like we make some type of impact. If we don’t feel or receive validation, it can affect our self-esteem or create emotional voids that we might spend a lifetime trying to fill. Feelings of invisibility can worsen particularly in times of strife, as one might feel isolated in their pain or stress. I’ve seen in my own life how invalidation has affected me.
For those of you who are wondering if you are seen, heard and valued and don’t feel like you receive the love and support that you should…There are many who share your sentiments, including myself. It sucks, I know. My only advice is that if you’re able to, address your feelings with those around you. Tell them you feel ignored or belittled. Tell them you want them to listen more intently or be more involved with you. Of course phrase it in your own words, but make sure the heart of the issue is clearly stated. If you’re dealing with people who really don’t give a Dereon` (Beyonce` fan joke), I honestly hate it for you because that makes the situation even worse.
I found that when all else fails, seeing, hearing and valuing myself FOR myself has made all the difference. I’ve bought myself flowers. I’ve dolled myself up and gone to movies and concerts no one wanted to see with me (it wasn’t bad at all. It was actually kind of fun). I’ve taken just my iPod and a couple of dollars and wandered around downtown to think and get some fresh air. One of the best days I’ve ever had was when I went shopping solo and then stopped in the park for a while to swing. It awesome being on my own time-table, having to entertain and amuse just myself and relive a childhood joy without being asked why I was doing it. The whole idea is to spend time with, cherish and reward yourself. When you have no else, you have you. Remind yourself of your talents and strengths. Look as far deep within as you can and find something you value about yourself. And if you think there’s nothing there, here’s another Oprah finale quote: “You are worthy because you are born and because you are here. Your being here and you being alive makes worthiness your birth right. You alone are enough.” I’m saying all this at the risk of sounding preachy and cliché. Sometimes we spend so much time pouring all of our energy, hope and love into others, that we forget who our true 1st-love is: ourselves. Some of us never get around to learning what self-love even is. YOU were/are your 1st love. You know you better than anyone else. You know all the absolute truths and secrets about yourself. You’ve spent the most time with yourself. If your reflection could talk would it say “Hey, what about me? You forgot about me. I need some attention too”? Pouring into yourself results in self-confidence, strength and sometimes inner-peace.
And for you folks who don’t necessarily feel like an apparition, be sure to take time to validate your loved ones. We all have 2 ears and one mouth for a reason. Internalize and absorb what’s being said to you, even if it’s a casual story. You’d be surprised how flattered people feel when you remember small details. Share in your loved ones interests and have them share in yours. Compliment and encourage randomly. Check on those you know that might be going through a difficult time. When you don’t understand or can’t relate to how someone feels or an experience they’ve had, ask more questions and let it be known you want to know more. Learn how to respectfully disagree. Don’t tell people how they should feel. Cater to and dote on every now and then. Go the extra mile. Yeah…that’s what I got for today.