Recently I found myself upset because I’d learned a group of friends had gathered and not included me. Ah, how I long for the pre social media days when these things could happen without my knowledge and I could live in ignorant bliss.
And the finding out part- it’s almost the hardest. Immediately I noticed a feeling in my gut. I’ve felt this way before when I found out that my kid hadn’t been invited to their friend’s party. But I’m not aware of having these feelings overtly for myself.
I’ve learned that when I find myself upset about something, it’s rarely about the actual incident, but about some belief I’m holding about myself. So I knew that this was a great opportunity to do some inner exploration. Because any awareness I can gain will ultimately lead to healing.
First I checked in with the younger me. I was the second of four kids in my family and there was always a revolving door of friends coming through our house. I had many friendships and always felt like I was included. So nothing obvious yet. Maybe I need to look deeper.
In doing this work, I generally don’t have to push that hard. I’ll get whispers in my ear during my morning walks or sometimes messages come in through my dreams. I didn’t have to wait long because a few nights later, I had a bad dream. I was on a reality tv show and there was a group of people that just didn’t include me in their conversations and experiences. So I decided that I would just get off the tv show. The producers told me that I could leave, but I wouldn’t be able to see my kids for the duration of the show- 9 more days. So I had to choose between my kids and feeling excluded. I woke up before I’d made my decision.
There’s something to that dream that I still can’t put my finger on. Something about losing my children. When I think about that, I sense a similar feeling in my gut that I expressed earlier. It’s a good clue, but I don’t have clarity yet. So I’ll just keep that in the back of my mind.
Then during my walk a few days later, I was reminded of a feeling from my childhood that was familiar. Even though our family unit was so close, there were many times that I recall feeling left out. While my Dad, older sister, and both younger brother and sister were able to participate in the regular intellectual conversations over dinner, I felt that I didn’t have much to contribute. They were the intellects and I was a more feeling person- much more interested in emotions and expression.
Then yet another insight came to me as a whisper, “Where am I excluding myself?” I’m very mindful of projections, although sometimes they’re not as obvious as others. So I began to question where am I leaving myself out? Immediately a flood of emotions came forward (a great clue that I’m on to some truth). Coming from a long line of martyrs and being mindful of my habit of over-responsibility, I’m reminded of the different ways I’m neglecting myself. I am, by nature, a nurturer. It’s the behavior that is most inherent in my way of being. But learning how to nurture myself and placing my needs as a priority has been a challenge.
There's some commonalities in all of this- a sadness, a hurt. At the core of this Is the belief that I’m just not good enough. That there is something lacking in myself that deems me unworthy of being included or allowing myself to be a priority. There’s also a pairing that occurred somewhere in my experience that taking care of myself will lead to me losing my children. Intellectually I see the falseness of this, but I allow myself to follow the feelings.
Luckily, I know what I can do with these awarenesses. Those misunderstandings and misinterpretations are familiar. They’ve surfaced from other experiences. I start by offering forgiveness to myself for buying into the belief that I’m not good enough or that there’s something lacking in me. And once that is complete, I tell myself the truth: That I am good enough just because I am here. That I am worthy of self-care. That Spirit placed me on this Earth as a perfect, Divine being and I am only limited by my own beliefs. That I lack nothing to be worthy of my own love and the love of others. These are beginning steps and as I work through all of this, I feel a sense of clearing and lifting.
We continue to attract similar experiences in life until we’ve healed the core issue. I most likely called the experience of feeling excluded as a child with my family to me, just as I called the recent experience of feeling left out because this lesson is part of my Spiritual curriculum. And these events serve as a catalyst for me to explore the deeper issue. So I’m grateful for the opportunity, healing and clarity it has provided me.
I share all of this with the hope that it resonates with others. And perhaps, we can be learning and healing together.