Have you ever spent your time doing something that leaves you with this off feeling that you just can’t shake? Social engagements and interaction often cause this for me. I am a pretty sensitive person. Not sensitive as in thin skinned. Sensitive as in I pick up on everything going on around me and absorb a lot of energy and emotion. Energy and emotion where others are able to be like a rock in water and allow it to flow over, around and off of them, not through them. I’m more like sand in that analogy. So after social interaction I often feel like I have a lot to process. I used to mistake this quality in myself as weakness. Sensitivity is often equated to being weak, the opposite of strength and empowerment. But things are only weaknesses if you own them as that. And since sensitivity is not necessarily something I want to change about myself, instead I’ve changed the way I see it in the context of my life. Being sensitive has now become my superpower that I’ve just started learning how to manage.
So, in light of my new super power I’ve started trying to learn from those off feelings rather than berate and beat myself up over them. I used to wake up the morning after said interaction and start going over each and every little detail in my head. Overanalyzing every word, every movement, every conversation. What others were able to leave behind my whole being seemed attached to and affected by. After the last interaction that affected me in this way there were a few things I woke up to and realized as truths for me both in and after the situation. Because I think that learning from and either changing or embracing the realizations about yourself from these situations is key in not staying stuck, stagnant, or atrophied. Here’s what I recently decided:
Real, deep, meaningful connection doesn’t happen with just anyone and that’s totally okay. Those three things have always been important to me. But I’ve learned that real authentic connection is the kind of magic you can’t just re-create or fake. There have been parties or large gatherings in which James and I have been drawn to and had life giving interaction and meaningful connection with another couple - amazing. There are also times that we spend an entire evening in search of those people and it just simply doesn’t happen. So we go from conversation to conversation feeling a lack of depth or meaning, misunderstood, as though for whatever reason something just isn’t clicking. And while that can be pretty freaking exhausting it doesn’t mean that you are a bad communicator. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t bring your A game. It doesn’t mean that what you had to say wasn’t interesting or that you yourself are uninteresting. It means connection didn’t happen. You didn’t accidentally stumble into a life giving, life long, deep, important or profound relationship. How many times has that actually happened in life? How many people do you hold as your nearest and dearest that do fit all that magic criteria. Exactly. So, what’s the point in faulting yourself over that?
What story am I telling? In those times that I am in larger gatherings and am forced to go from small talk to small talk I think it’s important to listen to yourself and what you’re saying. Whether you ever interact, engage, or run into any of those people ever again. Regardless of if what you say or if the story you tell resonates with those people be sure that the story your telling and how you talk about your life allows you to walk away feeling good about you and the life you’re living. I suppose it goes without saying that if you can’t find a way to honestly portray your life in an authentic way that makes you feel how you want to about your life perhaps it’s a good indication that re-evaluating is a good exercise. Perhaps it is out of the discomfort of being in small talk conversations but at the end of our night I wind up feeling like I need to check how I was portraying my life and what story I was using to describe that. Recently this happened and I realized that alot of what I talked about was past tense. What I used to do, explaining why I am doing what I’m doing to perfect strangers. The rhetoric. This story I’ve told myself and others too many times. Who I was 10 years ago, the decisions I made at that time do indeed affect the person I am now, but does it accurately describe the life I am living, the wife that I am, the friend that I am, the strong, independent capable strong women I am? No. The story about going to University for a year 13 years ago doesn’t portray that. The story about starting James’s company and us doing that together doesn’t do it justice. But how often do we tell the same story for years in these situations? You’ve changed, it’s fair to think that your story needs to too! Give yourself and your story some good credits.
I am a one on one kind of human, I’ve always been that way and probably always will be. While I am perfectly capable of being in larger gatherings and I am perfectly capable of functioning there it will never be the environment in which I thrive. Give me a dinner party, around a candle lit table in someones home, a bottle of wine, a great record, and a few people and I come alive. For me the kind of connection I am looking to create often happens there in our home, or in others homes. Intimate, engaging, warm, comfortable, open, and safe. That’s the recipe for my heart to be filled, the opportunity to bless, and the environment that allows for that kind of beautiful interaction. So, while I will inevitably find myself in large gatherings I think it’s helpful going in to it knowing that it’s not my thing. Going in with an open heart that knows the probability of experiencing a certain depth of connection is unlikely will allow for less disappointment when it doesn’t happen and the opportunity of surprise and watching the universe at work if it does.