Not to mention, she can be quite petty, small-minded, and mean. And a liar.
What I wrote above is in answer to this question: “Imagine that an article was written about you in your local newspaper. What the five things you would not want to be said about you?” (from “The Dark Side Of The Light Chasers,” by the late Debbie Ford)
Okay, so it was 10 things.
Those are the qualities with which I, when I think about allllllll the so-called negative qualities there are, would really REALLY hate to be associated. I have a visceral reaction to these words and to what I make them mean. They sting…and my heart prickles with shame when I think about what it would be like to be called those things.
And so, as I work my way through Ford’s book, I am challenging myself to own and embrace those qualities because they do, indeed, exist within me.
I have been all of those things at various times in my life, and even though I strive not to be, there’s always a chance that I can, and will, be all those things again.
In fact, very recently I was controlling and mean.
I was controlling on a road trip to Pennsylvania with my husband (he was driving and I couldn’t seem to help myself when it came to wanting to control how he was driving, not to mention other aspects of the trip…and let me say right now that my husband is a GREAT driver). I am not always this way because I have worked on NOT being this way. But sometimes I am.
In this particular case, it caused a bit of conflict. I pointed my finger at him, and he pointed his at me. But it wasn’t too much later that I realized that what we were both doing was trying to meet our own needs (or preferences).
And so when I look at it that way, when I hold up the mirror and point my finger back at myself, I can see it more clearly for what it is. And, even more importantly, I can tell my husband that my actions weren’t about him, but rather about me. Because the fact is, I don’t like being controlling.
I was also mean recently. I purposely provided negative commentary on something that someone else found positive and inspiring. I basically rained on her parade for no seemingly good reason.
I apologized and after a day or so of stewing over it, I was able to point my finger back at me and ask myself what need I was trying to meet.
It reminded me of the time, when I was in first grade, and there was another little girl in the class who was crying and I called her a crybaby. And the teacher made me stay after school and write my numbers, from 1 to 100. And to think about what I did.
Contrary to how it might seem, I am not trying to denigrate, put myself down, or shame myself with these admissions. The act of claiming and bringing these aspects of myself out into the light has been incredibly freeing. I feel lighter and brighter and…relieved.
Some key concepts from the book:
“What you can’t be with, won’t let you be.”
“When we suppress a feeling or impulse, we are also suppressing its polar opposite. If we deny our ugliness, we lessen our beauty. If we deny our fear, we minimize our courage. If we deny our greed, we also reduce our generosity.”
“Once we accept the fact that each of us embodies all the traits in the universe, we can stop pretending that we are not everything… The key is to understand that there is nothing we can see or perceive that we are not. If we did not possess a certain quality, we could not recognize it in another. If you are inspired by someone’s courage, it is a reflection of the courage in you. If you think someone is selfish, you can be sure that you are capable of demonstrating the same amount of selfishness. Although these qualities will not be expressed all the time, we each have the ability to act out any quality we see.”
The emotions/characteristics/aspects/impulses that we fear the most and try to hide usually hold the key to what is lacking in our lives.
I am a selfish, controlling hypocrite. Oh, and a lazy, spoiled, know-it-all. Not to mention, I can be quite petty, small-minded, and mean. And a liar.
I am also generous, easy-going, and sincere. Oh, and active, grateful, and humble. Not to mention I can be quite receptive, open-minded, and kind. And a truth-teller.
What emotions/characteristics/aspects/impulses do you try to hide and deny in yourself?