So the other day, I locked my keys in my trunk, and had to call triple A. Even though I was a bit annoyed, and frustrated with such a stupid mistake I made, I was perfectly happy walking over to the pub to grab dinner and wait for triple A. But then, I called a friend. She didn’t answer, but texted me she would call me back soon. Triple A came, unlocked the car, but still couldn’t unlock the trunk. So I had to wait another hour and a half for the locksmith to come open the trunk. And still, I was a little frustrated, but I enjoyed sitting at the restaurant, planning out my weekend for my teacher training. By the time I got home, my friend still hadn’t called me back, and of the whole night, that was the only thing that was bothering me. So I had to ask myself, why did that bother me more than me locking my keys in my trunk? And more than triple A having to come back twice? And more than me getting home almost 3 hours later than I originally had planned? Why did that stuff hardly bother me, and yet one friend not calling me back, throw me for a loop?
I imagined a scenario where it wasn’t this friend, it was someone else. Would I be as bothered? Nope. It specifically was bothersome because I am really close to her. So why would that make it more bothersome, instead of less? What it comes down to, for me, is control. Because she is so close to me, it feels as if I have some control over what she does/how much she shows up for me or how she shows up for herself in her life. In a lot of ways, this is a great thing. Her and I have an incredible relationship - one where we can really hold each other accountable, both within the relationship, and for each other in our separate lives. And, generally speaking, I am grateful that I am the type of friend that will help you hold yourself accountable, and push you to be better. However, I sometimes put so much responsibility on myself to take charge in a relationship, that I start to feel like I have control over the other person. And if I feel like that, and they don’t do something I want them to do, I feel useless, not good enough, and upset (mostly with myself).
So I started to look at this feeling of disappointment that I felt when my friend didn’t call me back, and comparing it to other moments in my life. Because actually, “disappointment” was sort of a disguise for feeling uncertain, not good enough, useless (or lack of control). I started to see that this feeling shows up all the time. I found various instances, recently, where I was trying to do something “right”, instead of doing it real. In relationships, sometimes I find myself doing things based on assumption of what I think they want or need, rather than what I truly need. In career, sometimes I find myself doing things that I think I should do, or what I think people want, rather than what is actually important to me. And recently, for my birthday, I found myself getting worried that I wasn’t doing anything “cool” or exciting for my birthday, rather than simply sticking with how I truly want to spend my birthday. I’ll also add that I have a terrible habit of picking at my skin, and I’ve known for some time that this habit must be emotionally related. No matter what I do with my diet, or skin care products, it doesn’t seem to change. And after this realization, I realized that the need to pick, is the same need to control. It’s like, if I can’t get what I want out there, I will control whatever I can over here. It’s like an OCD need for it to be perfect, since I know very well it’s not perfect.
After letting this discovery sink in over the past couple of days, I’ll admit that today I was feeling really frustrated with it. I couldn’t get over the fact that I wanted to do things “right” or the “cool” way or in a way that other people would approve of, and I was frustrated with myself, because I know that authentically, and truthfully, that is not what I care about. I realized that part of the reason I was stuck in it, was because of an interaction I had with a woman the other day, who was basically telling me how I “should” teach something that’s very important to me. Her “should” was based on flashy moves and hype, not based on technique and honesty. Something that I don’t agree with. And yet, I felt threatened by her telling me to do it that way. In fact, I felt small - like I wouldn’t be good enough if I didn’t do it that way.
So on the way to one of my classes today, I found myself a little stressed and tempted to bite my nails and pick my skin. And then I looked over at the guy in the car next to me, and he was biting his nails. And then I looked forward at the guy in front of me, and he was picking his skin. And then I kept looking at people as I drove past them, to see that almost every single person was doing something compulsive as they were driving. And I realized - we all have this need. Whether it manifests in a physical way, like biting nails, or not. We all have this need to maintain control over our lives, say, for instance, when we are stuck in uncontrollable traffic. And all of the sudden, that woman’s opinion on how I should teach, seemed irrelevant. She is going through her version of what she feels she needs to control. So the best thing I can possibly do, is teach it the way that’s authentic to me. Is continue to use my voice to teach honesty, and integrity. And to continue to value the things that are important to me, not the things that I think are important to others.
CONTROL. It’s something that I am pretty good at. It is part of what makes me a good leader, teacher, and friend. And, letting go and accepting that not everyone or everything is going to go the way I want it to, even the ones I seemingly have a say in, allows me to live a little more authentically and fully. :)
Learning everyday. And, looking forward to a day when picking and biting is no longer a need!