So I deal with issues by a) paying attention to my feelings when they creep out of bounds, and b) catching myself behaving in ways that go against my "personal philosophy." I then spend a bit of time figuring out what happened to pull me off balance. This works for me because: 1) it breaks the habit of having underlying feelings run my life, and 2) I get more insight about who I am at the core and why I do what I do.
Case in point....
I ran into a former student today. We hugged, and she smiled as students do when they meet their teachers in public. The onus is always on the teacher to ask questions and give feedback, etc. I LOVE meeting students in public, so we chatted on and on, then I went to back to my car. Before I pulled off, I caught myself looking in the mirror! Hmmmnnnnn. Then I think! AHA! A little remnant of my abandonment issue! Why? How?
Because abandonment issues (and probably a host of other issues) play out by making the irrelevant relevant. Instead of going with the flow and taking life as it comes, "abandonment survivors" (just coined this phrase) take stock a lot by
- looking in the mirror to see if something's wrong,
- reviewing a conversation to determine whether we sounded like an idiot, and
- coming up with what could've, should've, would've gone differently.
But my true self cares less than a cent about what I was about to see in the mirror after a random conversation. So I looked away from the mirror and didn't give another thought to what the student saw or what either of us said.
Because this mental and physical scrutiny is all about that underlying feeling that something unexpected can blindside me and I wind up in an unpleasant place. Maybe I looked like a hoochie in my exercise clothes; maybe sweat had dried and I had eye boogers, etc. My instinct was an expectation of something being wrong, expecting to be judged harshly, or even to be judged favorably. I was about to relinquish my power and give it to somebody/anybody else-- and have her make a difference in my psyche. I mean, really?!
I'm a grown woman, and I have been living long enough to have conversations and interactions all day long without needing an assessment of how I'm doing!
So this is going to be my homework for the week: Be present when I'm engaged with somebody, then move the heck on. Don't waste my time reflecting or going back over it unless it's for some clearly positive and healthy purpose.
My AHA experience is this: Before you look in the mirror, ask yourself why you're going there. Most times, you'd be better off just going with the flow and putting yourself all the way into your agenda. Because the truth is that retouching the makeup, recombing that bang, or seeing if that pimple got bigger will not create the experiences you want in life. Trust me on that!
Don't forget to order a copy of Salt in the Sugar Bowl! See how abandonment issues run rampant as the adult Sawyer children deal with life and love after having being abandoned by their mother, Sophia. http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/MSRFiction.php
$10, plus S&H
"Just finished Salt in the Sugar Bowl. Read it slow to savor every word, every character. As I read from character to character, each became my favorite at the moment. Great story, one that can be found in any big family. You are an incredible writer, a writer from the heart. Loved that you mentioned Brooklyn, Ft. Greene. Laughed, smiled, smirked in some parts. Can't wait for your next."
--Maria Villafane, New Yorker