Sometimes you just need to change your perspective.
Years ago, I was in a precarious situation involving people who were, let's just say, less than kind. I mentioned to a good friend that, obviously, there's some lesson I need to learn in dealing with these folks. My friend became extremely agitated, and in what can only be described as a Cher-snap-out-of-it moment, she said rather vehemently, "Maybe it's their lesson. Maybe they need to learn to be kind, thoughtful, and generous. Geesh!"
She had a point.
But did she mean that they should learn from me? Was I the teacher?
Possible, but not how I saw myself. And apparently they didn't either. My students weren't passing the class. Heck, they weren't even attending.
When after several months nothing had changed, I distanced myself from them.
Yours truly was still looking for her lesson.
Fast forward to...
The Sparkly Man
Into each life, a sparkly man or woman must fall. Personally, I love me some sparkle–could be my showbiz background. Anyway, I met a very shiny man unexpectedly, during a difficult time in my life, a man that one of my friends described at the time as being "a gift."
Yes. He was a gift, and I grew very fond of him. And when he disappeared with no explanation, I went immediately to–you guessed it–
what's my lesson?
Darned if I knew.
And I'm not entirely sure I know now, several years later. In fact, I'm not sure there was a lesson. Or maybe I'm just calling it something else.
You see, there has been...an awakening. I think I'm finally on to something that has the potential to significantly change the way I respond in the future in all my interpersonal relationships, and here it is:
What if I was also a gift?
That's quite a turnaround for someone whose self-deprecation used to border on self-loathing. The statement feels a little extreme, almost...conceited. But I'm not saying this in a self-aggrandizing way. No. I'm saying this in a self-acknowledging and self-affirming way, a way that recognizes the role I may play in another person's life education.
(BTW, I'm also saying this with a touch of exasperation–can you hear it? I've what's my lesson so many times that I'm delirious.)
Here's my new outlook: We pray God, use me, and we don't know what the plan is and how we fit into it, or what the outcome will be. We don't know where or to whom we will be sent. Maybe we're the catalyst or the inspiration, the motivator or the love of a lifetime that just happened to come along for them. It's Christmas, and we are that bright blue Tiffany box sitting under the tree ready to be opened by whoever is in front of us.
Now, whether they open their present or not isn't our issue. Our issue–or responsibility if you want to call it that–is to know who we are, our value, and what we bring to the table everywhere we go. (It's also the other person's responsibility to do the same.)
Sleeping With the Enemy, Low Self-Worth
There's always something to learn in our interactions with others, and much of it is positive.
But what's my lesson can have a negative ring to it in that it's often about identifying our mistakes, our screwups and missed opportunities. We ask it over and over again in a self-punishing way, especially after failed intimate relationships, with not a thought as to what fabulousness we brought to the party. We turn our friend, partner, or boss into a tenured professor and ourselves into a lowly, immature freshman. Nothing wrong in wanting to do better and be better, but we go way overboard.
Relationships are a two-way street. Our days of traveling the lonely, one-way road of low self-worth must come to an end.
Stand in Your Power, Baby.
That's right. Stand, quietly and confidently. Remember, it's not always about you and your lesson. Sometimes, it's about them and their lesson. They may be in prime position to receive, and you are just the person to deliver that nugget of wisdom they're so desperately in need of. And as the messenger, you must stand in your power and fully own your skills, talents, and capabilities wherever you go.
Low self-worth isn't going to cut it anymore. Stop your ongoing search for what-you-did-wrong-and-will-never-do-again-so-help-you-God for just one minute–one minute, that's all I ask–and consider the possibility that you are a gift.