Freedom Friday– every Friday I free myself from a burden, either an old embarrassing story, a secret phobia, a lie I told and got away with, a fear I can’t win, or something else to be determined. I want to free myself from secrets to end those nagging moments when I can’t sleep at night, or those random thoughts that pop in my head for no reason other than their need to get expelled from my psyche. We all need to free ourselves from self-recrimination, to open ourselves up and face our fears. Freedom Friday is my attempt to do that, and in turn take ownership of my guilt so it doesn’t eat me alive anymore.
“Most people do not and will not like you. There are millions of people in this world – most won’t know you, many wont like you, some will only tolerate you and very few are going to enjoy your company. Are you choosing to waste your time making the other 99% of the world like you, or are you focusing on enriching the 1% that you stand a chance with? No matter how hard you try, most people will not like you.”
This was the best advice I have ever received from a self-help/motivational speaker. In the fall before we upended our lives and left Chicago-land for Detroit I was working at a job I loathed. My boss was an anti-Semite with resentment towards parents and felt that the only way to do a job well was to work at it for 60 odd hours a week. Having two children under age 3 made this a particularly awful time to work for someone who hates kids and loves overtime. I had left homeless services to try a different non-profit and regretted the decision. My health insurance was crap and we were paying out 60% of our income in healthcare costs just to keep my husband’s bipolar in check and our daughter’s health issues resolved, reminding me constantly that I made a terrible choice leaving my other employer.
I left the liberal bastion of social justice work in Chicago for a disability job in the suburbs, a job where religion played a major role in fundraising. Problem 1- I am not Christian. Problem 2- I am not a republican. Problem 3- In order to perform my job I needed to find where people were coming from and speak to their beliefs and experiences, which meant learning to empathize with core beliefs I am staunchly opposed to and have protested against. While a few of my coworkers were awesome and lovely, I felt alone and completely “othered” by 90% of the people I met each day.
**** edited to add: I have many, many friends and family members who are Christians, or republicans or both. It was my job’s requirement to use religion, a religion I did not practice, to sell an idea. I didn’t like using someone else’s beliefs as a way to get them to give money to my cause. It felt dirty and wrong. I dont want to be asked to fund anti war protests just because I am a liberal, so I felt wrong asking people to fund disability services just because they were pro-life Christians. Now back to my original post***************
Professional development at this job included a motivational speaker. I forget his name, his speaker subject, and most of what he said. However, his quote about only standing a chance of genuine connection with 1% of the population transformed me profoundly – If I am destined to be unloved by most, why take it personally?
I know myself, I am an odd duck with significant challenges in my communication styles. I give gifts for no reason because I know I will forget to give a gift when a reason comes up. I sing out loud whenever I feel like it, even though I am never on-key and rarely in tune. I skip from points A to Q while speaking, assuming everyone knows B-P without my iteration. I make up words, am fond of run-on sentences and weave stories together in a way that doesn’t translate nearly as well outside my head. I am obsessed with people thinking I am Good Enough. Good Enough as a mom, Good Enough as a wife, Good Enough as a professional fundraiser, Good Enough as a friend, Good Enough as a sister, Good Enough as a daughter.
confession – I am obsessed with being loved
I feel like I have my stuff together 50% of the time, totally suck 25% of the time and spend the last 25% of my time gearing up to stop sucking by making more charts, getting more organized, practicing how to smile through my teeth and move on after bad treatment. 25% loser isn’t too bad, really, but some people in my life live in that 25%, staying silent through the good parts and leaping into action when the bad parts show up. They see me as the accumulation of my faults, instead of a person of worth who also screws up. I am learning, though to breathe deep, close my eyes, and remember they were never meant to be the 1%.
Do you have a mantra you turn to when people’s sucky behavior is aimed in your general direction?