Day 126 -Prize Fighting for Worth.
Worth, as I have written about it many times, is something that I have always struggled with...something that I felt that others had but that I did not. Because of this seemingly innate sense of lack, I have accepted a lot of shitty behavior over the years from others. Men mostly, but really from everyone.
It was this most basic fear that I somehow deserved the treatment I was receiving that was the basis for me allowing it all to unfold in a manner that was not only painful, but sometimes abusive.
Because I did not feel like I had much worth, or at least no core place that I could return to that gushed value, I was willing to take whatever people gave me and make the best with it.
It has been a long road trudging toward worth. I have had many missteps along the way. I have even punished some people from my present for the actions of those in the past. I have found myself time and time again, reacting to old wounds as fresh ones and taking it out on the person in front of me even though it really had nothing, or little, to do with them.
I have done a lot of work over the past few years. Not because I wanted to, but because I was really forced too. No longer able to blame my current conditions on the behavior of others, I had to really get down to brass tacks and see that I was the cause of most, if not all, of my issues of worth.
It all started here...
One day, I was out hiking and I was thinking about other people. It was a busy day in my head and many different people and their roles in my life passed through in fairly rapid succession (welcome to my world). I thought about them, their lives, their struggles. Then there were a few moments when something in nature jarred me out of my thinking and I had to take notice of the scenery, terrain, view...something brought me out of my head and into my body. It was a short lived trip, and I returned to my head in short order.
However, the jarring incident, whatever that was, caused me to review what I had just been thinking about...I thought of all the people I had just thought about and saw them in this unifying light. Not one person, regardless of whether my thoughts about them were bad or good, lacked worth. In fact, all of them were so worthy that I had spent the better part of a hike thinking about them.
My mind then grabbed onto this strain, could I think of anyone, anywhere that didn’t have worth?
As my feet marched on the trail, I challenged myself to find just one person that lacked worth.
I could not. Everyone that I thought of had worth. Every single one. So if I could not come up with one person that didn’t have worth, then why did I think that I should lack it. I was human. I was a person. I had all the same basic needs and wants that everyone else did. Gravity applied to me same as everyone else.
And so my journey toward worth began. I am not sure what I was doing all those years prior, but it was not cultivating worthiness that is for damn sure. Actually, wait, I do know what I was doing...I was allowing my worth to be defined by you, your actions and your value of me.
However, this day, something shifted in me and I saw my innate worthiness not in an arrogant or boastful way. But in a more humble, honest way.
It has been kind of a long journey even though the span of years relatively short in duration.
Slowly, I began to stand up for myself. Not accept less. Be willing to say the thing that I was afraid of, be willing to risk telling you the truth which could and might cause you to leave. I began to not make these ridiculous deals anymore with you or myself. Deals that resulted in slanted, stilted relationships that were never satisfying or good.
I will admit that I often went too far the other way. Demanding not only fair treatment but special treatment. I did, on occasion, act as though any new man in my life owed me something. Like it was their job to make up for all the shit I put up with before. Lane, I am sad to say, bore the brunt of this. However, he was also the man that made me see what I was doing. He the one to wake me up to the fact that it was not anyone, but my job to make up for all the shitty treatment I allowed in my life.
So I went a little too far. Then I fell back into familiar patterns. It has kind of been that way for awhile. True to my life’s course, I tend to overdo, then underdo pretty much everything. Which does result in finding a middle path, but only after going too far in opposite directions. Someday, I may be able to just aim for the middle but I doubt it...
This brings me to today. I am at this place again where I am allowing someone to treat me in a manner that I do not like. It is weighing on my mind. It is sticking in my craw. It is making me angry at someone else who doesn’t even know I am upset. Old fucking pattern rearing its ugly head and fucking up my present.
I woke up this morning having a conversation with this person in my head. First, I, very harshly set a boundary with the person. Then I realized that the anger was a cover. I felt vulnerable and scared. However, my need for this well of anger to make me feel safer, not really congruent to who I am right now. The realization of this pretty much evaporated that particular emotion. I was not angry so much as I was scared.
Then I tried good old manipulation. An ultimatum. I don’t like this and you better stop it or else kind of thing. I barely got that sentence out before I could see that I was all done with the passive aggressive. I actually prefer openly hostile to passive aggressive in my interactions with others. At least, hostility is visible and honest. Passive aggression the chicken shit way to do anger. No, if I am mad, let me be mad. I will not tamp that down for anyone. If you can’t handle an open, honest and perhaps somewhat pissed conversation, you are not meant to be in my life.
After going out to visit both extremes, I found my way back to center. This person that is treating me in a manner that I do not like, is not a bad person. He probably doesn’t even know that what he is doing is even bothering me. How do I know this? Because I haven’t said a word. I haven’t said a word because I do not want to rock the boat, and I do not want to do that because that is what I have always done.
So I am going to let us both off the hook. I am going to tell him that I do not like the manner in which he is treating me. I will say it with kindness and compassion for him and myself. I will allow the result of this conversation to be whatever it is going to be. I will tell him what I want, and what I do not. He, free to make up his own mind about whether what I want/need works with whatever he wants/needs.
Guess what? It probably won’t. Because if we were on the same page, there would likely not be this disconnect. But I do not know. I can think I know lots of things, but I really don’t until I say something.
If he decides to take his leave or get upset, that is on him. I am just going to say what it is that I need and he is then free to do whatever it is that he wants. He can go, he can stay. But whatever the outcome, our relationship will be on a more even and authentic foundation.
As I write this I am amazed at how much my lifelong manner of living resulted in me failing to recognize everyone’s worth. My methodology for connecting with others fundamentally flawed. Today I will honor his worth by telling him the truth and giving him the information he needs to make a good decision about whether or not he wants to stay in my life. I will honor my worth by caring enough about myself to share that with him and not spend more time feeling upset by his treatment.
I hope we can find a place where both of us can get our needs met but if not, I will not compromise my own worth for his. It is dishonest and a recipe for disaster down the line. In so doing, I will honor his worth as well. He deserves to know who he is allowing into his life. He gets to decide if he wants me, in my current form, present and in what manner. The only way we can move forward is to talk about it.
Someone said to me recently that I was the prize. That resonated with me. I think mostly because it was such a foreign concept. Me, a prize? HAHAHA - I don’t think so. But why is that my baseline? Where did I get that from? Why do I willingly choose to value myself so little?
Habit. Fucking habit...
I will do something today that increases my sense of worth. Holding my center and allowing the other person to do the same. I will act as if we are both prizes. Both containing things that are to be valued, cherished and prized. I will call us both out on our failure to act in a manner consistent with this idea. I will say my truth and let him say his. No matter the agreement or disagreement, I wish him well and do not see a disagreement as him or me being an asshole. Instead, this conversation an opportunity for us both to value our prizeworthiness and then go on our way. Two lives touching in and then perhaps moving on. Perhaps connecting on a deeper level. Regardless, my only most important job to be authentic in my conversation with myself so that I can share that with him.
So simple. Not easy. But then prizefighting never is.