I recently posted a personal win in a private Facebook group created for passionate entrepreneurs who have taken a particular, and uber popular, online business course. The group provides support, encouragement and a safe place to ask questions, share your wins, losses and everything in between.
Last week I was invited to be a guest writer for Mike Dooley’s TUT and I was so excited, I wanted to share it with my Facebook family and fellow entrepreneurs. I posted my win in the group, partly to inspire others to keep following their dreams and partly because, well, damn it, I was proud of myself and wanted the pats on the back for a job well done.
Not one response. Out of 13,000+ members, not one single “congratulations,” not one thumbs up.
Truth be told, that hurt.
I don’t like to admit there’s a part of me that still feels like that lonely child at the school cafeteria sitting by herself feeling like an outcast, like she doesn’t belong. And worse than feeling like she’s not good enough to sit with the popular girls, feeling like she’s invisible.
I’m a known introvert. So these things shouldn’t bother me. But they do sometimes.
I could’ve shrugged it off and told myself that it doesn’t matter if others validate me, that as long as I know my own worth, that’s all that matters.
And I could have rationalized it and told myself that it’s a big group, posts tend to get lost amidst all the tons of others posts and maybe no one saw it.
I could have told myself a myriad of other things to make myself feel better.
And while they all may have been true, and while I did all of them, I still felt nudges of hurt crop up throughout the day.
In the grand scheme of things, the earth is still spinning and I’m still breathing. One measly little post means nothing. But because I’m usually vibrating on a pretty positive frequency, any drop in my energy and I notice it immediately. And I know all too well the importance of paying attention to those nagging little drops, those slight emotional pokes that we generally ignore and in the spirit of positive thinking, rework in our minds to make everything OK.
This time, I decided to sit down with the lonely girl in the cafeteria and acknowledge her. We sat in silence, my arm around her shoulder, our heads leaned in together, resting on each other.
And then she started sobbing and buried her face into my chest.
I felt like telling her she was loved, she was good enough and that she mattered. I felt like telling her she didn’t need to sit with the popular girls to prove her worthiness, she didn’t need their attention to validate her. I felt like teaching her all the things I teach others and have learned myself. But somehow, those words seemed empty in my mind and I knew instinctively that no matter what I said, it wouldn’t matter.
So I just held her.
After a few minutes, she picked up her peanut butter & grape jelly sandwich (on white Wonder Bread), wiped her eyes and started eating, humming and kicking her feet up in the air to the beat of her hum.
Then she grinned and gave me half her sandwich and we ate together, me and my inner child, humming and laughing, completely entwined in each other, not a care in the world.
I promised her that I’m always here for her and if she ever wanted a good cry, or laugh, I’ll be here for her from now on. Not to give her advice or impart any truth upon her, but to simply be here with her, no matter what she’s feeling.
I learned a valuable lesson: It is in acknowledging the vulnerable parts of ourselves – not trying to ignore, deny, dismiss, change, fix or improve upon them – but simply acknowledging and accepting them, exactly as they are, that they transform and empower us to be more authentic, more fully integrated and connected with all parts of ourselves.
We don’t need to be fixed, we need to be acknowledged.
We don’t need to be made whole, we need to accept the whole of us.
We don’t need people to notice our posts, we need to notice our little hurts and give them the attention we ourselves are seeking.
It’s those little seemingly insignificant emotional pokes in our guts throughout the day that can reveal hidden, unhealed parts of ourselves from the past. No one noticed my Facebook post and suddenly I’m the lonely girl in the cafeteria 30 years ago all over again. Had I shrugged it off and dismissed it as no big deal, I would have missed the opportunity to heal that part of myself and my past… until the next little hurt, and the next.
When we listen to those little nudges of hurt, sit with them and allow them to be, they reveal deeper truths about ourselves and we can use them as catalysts for inner growth, awareness and healing.
What are your little hurts trying to tell you?