Living a Life of Oblivion
All my life, I’ve been accused of being oblivious. Not when it matters to someone else, but when it might matter to me, were I to recognize it. Typically, it revolves around men and dating. I think it has a lot to do with the low self-esteem I grew up with and the hard knocks I’ve taken over the years when I let my heart engage with a single human being.
I’m fine when it comes to engaging with friends and family. But even that took a lot time to recognize, expose, and feel safe doing. I don’t typically recognize when a guy is interested, mostly because, quite frankly, I still have trouble believing anyone would be; could be.
As a teenager, I was sucked in too many times by people saying “so-and-so likes you” only to find out they were playing on my innocence, and waiting to laugh when I got hurt. Needless to say, I’m less than trusting of those words even with my friends. Still, I can’t point to a single time when even those words from well-meaning friends turned out to be true.
Well-meaning Friends Don’t Always See the Whole Picture
Recently, two friends at different times and different places mentioned they thought someone was interested in me. As he’s someone we all see fairly regularly, I put out some feelers after telling both women he is friendly to a lot of the single women, which he is. Men in the dance community have a lot of choices, or can choose not to choose and just enjoy us all on the dance floor and at social events. It soon became clear they were mistaken, but unfortunately, it left me feeling rather disappointed.
The sad truth is, no one has shown an interest in me that way in decades (at least not that I was aware of). I admit I allowed myself to get a little excited about the prospect, knowing it was likely merely a mis-perception on the part of both my friends.
Humans Are Designed To Need Other Humans
It made me realize no matter how long we’re alone and how used to being alone we think we are, it doesn’t take much to shake our world and knock us off that flimsy pedestal of independence. Humans were designed to want and need other humans, a condition I avoided for a long time. Until the last few years, I really didn’t connect with anyone.
Sure, I had friends, if you could call them that. We saw each other dancing, and there were even times I got together with some outside of dancing. But there was never a connection, and those “friendships” wilted and died easily. I’ve come to recognize they weren’t really friendships at all, but rather, friendly acquaintances. They certainly weren’t people who’d miss me if I was gone, or check on me to see if I was OK. Then again, I wasn’t inclined to do so for them either.
Moving Through Uncharted Territory
Many people are raised to keep their hearts open and to connect with others. For people like me, it’s like traveling to a foreign land where you don’t speak the language or understand the culture. You have to step carefully and learn the rules as you go. Sometimes you get knocked down hard and others, you meet people who ease you in gently. I’m learning those are the ones who are meant to be your tribe.
We can’t even reach the borders of that country until we’ve done deep internal work on ourselves. It begins with deciding we’re not going to live in isolation any more, and likely comes after some kind of tragedy or trauma. For me, it took quite a few, and several years of working on myself before something finally broke down my door and invited me to come outside and play.
Trauma and Tragedy: We Either Connect or We Isolate
I don’t think I’m any different than anyone else in having lived through a series of tragedies and traumas. The details may differ, and the way I learned to handle them is certainly unique to me, but everyone faces challenges. Even the major earthquakes I’ve seen affected people in different ways. I was fortunate to have been far enough from the epicenter in both cases to be spared any major damage to body or property. But I know many people who weren’t spared, and who had to deal with the aftermath.
Those who had others to depend on managed the emotional side of the tragedies far better than those who, like me believed they could and should depend on no one, and tried to slog through the mire themselves. Looking at those people from my former perspective, I can’t even imagine how they got through it all without breaking into tiny pieces themselves. Some didn’t.
Healing Ourselves As We Grow
But the more we change and grow, the more we find pockets of ourselves which are slower to adjust and adapt. For me, it always comes down to confidence. Whether it’s stepping into the fact that I am an expert in my field (not THE expert, but AN expert), or believing I deserve a loving, supportive, joyful relationship with a man, I still have doubts, fears, and a whole lot of that scared little girl getting in the way of my progress.
Fortunately, I am learning to step into my expertise with the help of my coach, Linda Clay. But I’m also getting a lot of positive feedback for my writing and the topics I choose. It all serves to remind the scared little girl she’s come a long way and learned many things which need to be shared for others who might need to hear them.
Alone Again, Unnaturally
When it comes to a mate, a life partner, or whatever you want to call it, I’m still on the schoolyard feeling alone and left out. I know deep down inside, I still don’t believe I deserve to have someone like that in my life. I still don’t see I have enough to offer someone that they would choose me over the multitude of other choices. In short, my insecurity fuels my inadequacy and I remain alone.
I joke it would take a guy practically hitting me over the head with a sledgehammer to get me to acknowledge his interest, but it’s not entirely a joke. I would need to be pretty darn sure he was honestly interested in the real me, and not someone he thought I was before I’d crack open the door and allow him to begin the long, slow process of earning my trust. In my experience, most people don’t want to put forth that much effort when there are others willing and able to meet them halfway.
I know when I talk to my friends about this, they are both saddened and disbelieving. I envy the courage they have in giving one man after another a chance to be their “one”. They seem to heal quickly from disappointments and are soon ready to move on to the next one.
Judging by Past Experience
I don’t heal that fast. But a lot more gets wounded each time I get dumped on my ass. The pain goes deeper than anyone else can see or imagine, and I have to go back to square one and heal things a step at a time.
Granted, I haven’t had the opportunity in a very long time, so it’s possible my healing process has sped up a bit. But without the courage or the opportunity to find out, I can only look at the past where a broken and withdrawn me attracted men who could and would never truly give me what I needed, nor allow me to do the same for them.
I think my biggest fear now is attracting someone who is not only as open and Conscious as I’ve become, but as vulnerable too. Getting hurt is bad enough, but hurting someone else; someone I care deeply for would be the ultimate pain.
And so, I convince myself to continue to walk alone.
No Matter What, I Always Have Something to be Grateful For
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the friends who’ve helped me step out of my old world and into my new.
- I am grateful for a much more active and diverse social life, and a willingness to do and try some new things.
- I am grateful for the ability to see where I still need help learning and growing.
- I am grateful I’m starting to question the voice that tells me I’m undeserving.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, joy, community, dancing, writing, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, exercise, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward