Funny how my newsletter this week was going to be about how to stop playing small so you can live your purpose and shine your light. Because last night I felt totally unseen, insignificant and like I didn’t matter.
Do you get that way sometimes?
I used to get that way all the time. In fact, it was my biggest wound. Feeling left out, not being important and being insignificant haunted my youth and teens.
It’s funny how old memories can get triggered by new cuts.
The cut this week came in the form of an unintentional forgetting – an invitation to co-facilitate an event along with a hand-selected group of epic women leaders, and then the host completely forgetting that she asked me, which left me literally all dressed up and ready to go, but left out at the last minute.
With unintentional forgetting the blow is deep. To the other person it’s a small oversight – a blip on the screen – and their beat goes on. But you’re left with the ripple of insignificance. The echo of unimportance and the crushing blow of disappointment.
It’s hard to know what to do with it.
This is the kind of stuff that easy to stuff down. We can tell ourselves to stop being so sensitive and just get over it – that it’s not a big deal. We can swallow our anger, smoothing over our rage with placations as we tell ourselves to let it go.
We can also binge over it – food, alcohol, tv, technology. Or it can settle so deeply into the well-defined groove of our inner unworthiness that it pushes us into further isolation and depression.
Yes, a trigger like this can pull the plug on our confidence and push us into patterns of pretending and putting on a happy face – leaving us feeling cut off and totally alone.
If you relate to any of those ways of dealing with what you’re feeling, then I want to share with you what I did with this situation instead that allowed me to stay free from the grips of self pity, sabotage and searing rage.
Here’s what I did and I hope it’s helpful for you:
I took responsibility for my trigger – Yes this woman dropped the ball, but if it wasn’t already part of an age-old story of my insignificance it wouldn’t have had the significance. Taking responsibility for it allowed me to get out of victim mode and focus instead on what I needed to do to heal the inner wound inside.
I took care of myself – I rearranged a few calls and gave myself the space to cry, feel my feelings and lean into the sadness. This felt really cathartic and self- honoring but it also felt honoring of others because if I did get on those calls it would have been hard to be present and I’d probably have been a little inauthentic.
I called a trusted confidant who I knew wouldn’t judge or try to fix me – I can’t tell you how good it felt to call this person and say, “my feelings got hurt really bad today and I’m feeling sad. Can I share what happened with you?” This interaction allowed the words, the tears and the emotions to move through me instead of staying stuck inside. Invaluable.
I used the experience as a raw material from which to create – the very act of writing this blog and sharing what happened with you, allowed me to take this experience out of the self-pity bucket and into the service bucket – because my hope in sharing was that something in this article would be of use to you.
So there you have it. Perhaps this article is about stopping playing small and shining your light after all. For these are the very triggers – feeling insignificant, being forgotten and not mattering…that can keep us holding back and playing small for a lifetime.
I hope that this article gives you a nugget or two that can help you on your path.
No I don’t wish these types of circumstances or triggers on you. But we all know that life happens. Rejection happens. Disappointment happens. And sometimes things don’t work out the way we’d have liked.
That is a part of the human experience along with joy, magic and all the other stuff.
So here’s where my human experience brought me today. I invite you to not need to comfort me – because it’s actually been incredibly cathartic writing this and I’m already feeling differently.
I invite you instead you use blog topic as an opportunity to check in with you, get real with where the fear of insignificance or not mattering might live inside, and ask that part what it needs right now.
Sending you so much love, from my tender heart to yours.
In dedication of all things raw, real and recovered,