Awkward, Not Awful

“What would it take,” she asked me, “to be comfortable there?”

She was referring to an awkward and complex relationship I’m in.

I think it’s obvious, the work will have to be internal. I can’t expect the people around me to change. Not everyone thinks like I do, or communicates in the same way or likes the same level and color of light in a room or has the same beliefs or interests as I. No one even agrees on what to eat . I can’t expect the world out there to micro-adjust to suit me. No way. If I want to be comfortable, I have to be able to adapt.

So what would it take?

I’d have to find reliable ways to ground and center myself. As it is now it is easy to throw me off balance. The work has to be done inside my own skin.

I need to be agile enough to adapt to different physiological and psychological states. I need to know that no matter which side of my toast I butter, I am still a whole human who has a right to exist regardless of what is going on. (I won’t complicate this by bringing up the fact that we probably can’t be ourselves without interacting with others)

But I need to validate my existence independent of what others think of me.

That means I have to trust my ability to interpret cues from the environment and reject the things that threaten my core values while accepting the things that nurture me. So if so and so says, “Try this Fire Sauce on your vegan eggs” and I don’t like it, I don’t have to worry that the sky will fall. I need to speak up for myself without trying to push my values onto another person.

That means, of course, that I have to know what my core values are.

I’d need to go deep into the part of myself that simply hums I am and figure out what matters to me. That way I won’t be teetering back and forth, buffetted by the changing opinions of others lke a like a wobbling Weeble.

And I’d have to remember that no matter how centered and balanced I am in one moment I may be thrown off in the next and that it’s no big deal. In time I’ll recover; wth practice, I’ll recover faster.

Right now I don’t handle change well, nor do I accept spoken or unspoken criticism without feeling like a total loser and giving up. But thanks to my friend’s insightful question, I know how to work on the lines of communication, at least I know what my own strengths and weakness are and I’m willing to believe there is a better way to be in relationship with others.

I proceed with hopeful caution, one step at a time.

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