Oops I did it again...
Recently I found myself playing a familiar yet not so comfortable game during an end of retreat Celebration Party. Because of the clarity I had gained from attending the Retreat, I was able to quickly and very clearly recognise an old pattern, one that I have been going into for as long as I can remember. This old pattern is one of withdrawal, guardedness and isolation, which has me distancing and separating myself from others, and this is not at all like the playful, light hearted, down-to-earth, sparkly person I normally am.
As I observed everyone else having fun, being open and playful with each other, engaging deeply in conversation and enjoying each other’s company, I was choosing to retract back into my shell and it felt horrible.
This is what I called ‘being shy’ in the old days, but now I see that it felt horrible because I was refusing to shine, I was hiding away, not wanting to be seen, and I was also making it ‘all about me'. Though it was hard to face this truth, I welcomed it, as I saw I was not a victim but I had the choice to change, and that choice could be made in a moment.
Reflecting in this way about this experience I realised:
Life is not just about me
Life cannot be lived in isolation from each other
Life reflects back to me where I am and I can’t blame others for my feeling lonely
It is a choice to withdraw
Then I asked myself, “Why do I withdraw?” Could it be that I am not honouring my own unique form of expression? Comparing myself to others, and thinking that I should be more like them, more open, more fun, more engaging – more liked by others. Could that be it?… That I am choosing to withdraw because I am dishonouring my own unique expression by trying to be like others!
The wanting to be liked by others, or the desire to feel special, comes from a lack of love for myself, and this also is a choice. As I looked deeper, the realisation came that this all comes from jealousy of and comparing myself to others, and a lack of appreciation for myself. However, all of this is NOT ME, not the true me.
How did I pull myself out of it? Quite simple. As I was standing on the dance floor like a wallflower, a beautiful woman came up behind me and put her arm around me. We walked around like this for a while and I started to feel myself coming back to me. We gently parted and I then found someone else to connect with, then another and another. I realised then that I had come back to feeling more of my essence. I felt more open and joyful, more connected to everyone, and even if I was dancing on my own, I had that connection to myself and the loneliness had gone.
Through the support of others, I had come back to the connection with myself, where no one is ever alone. There is no need to try to connect to others, it is the connection with ourselves that is felt by others. This is true connection and no performing or trying is necessary to feel this.
What I learnt from this is that it is okay to be yourself. We are all unique in our expression, and by comparing ourselves to others we are giving ourselves away and not honouring ourselves in full as equal human beings. I have learned that we are all equal in the eyes of God, so it doesn’t make sense to judge another or compare as we are on this path together – the path of return to who we truly are.
My shyness is not going to magically disappear overnight, but now I can acknowledge my shyness and work on that connection to myself and my connection with others, remain honest and open and allow myself to shine in my own unique way.
I shall endeavour to play this ‘hide and seek’ game no longer because I know who the true me is. I know what my essence feels like, and it is the real and true me, and I owe it to myself and others to honour the fragility and beauty of that.
I am not perfect, but knowing who the true me is allows me to appreciate who I am, and that I am okay for just being me.