Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘acquaintances’

Awakening From Oblivion

Living a Life of Oblivion 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, 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 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:

  1. I am grateful for the friends who’ve helped me step out of my old world and into my new.
  2. I am grateful for a much more active and diverse social life, and a willingness to do and try some new things.
  3. I am grateful for the ability to see where I still need help learning and growing.
  4. I am grateful I’m starting to question the voice that tells me I’m undeserving.
  5. 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

Navigating the Human Mine Field

Foot in Mouth Disease

You can find the Facebook Live on this topic here.

I don’t always say the right thing. All too often, my mouth engages long before my morning caffeine catches up to my brain, usually with results ranging from “undesirable” to “just shoot me now”.  All too often, the magnitude of my faux pas is determined, not by what I said, but by who my audience was.

Over time, I’m learning there are many different levels of people who enter my life, from strangers who never even know I exist to my nearest and dearest friends and family. But there are several levels in between, and in some ways, I’m still learning which ones I need to concern myself with and which I need to simply treat with courtesy and leave it at that.

Trusting Selectively

At the end closest to my heart, I have my dearest friends. I include the few family members who remain a part of my life through all of my evolutionary iterations (who can sadly be counted on one hand). After that come friendly acquaintances, a group I’ve mentioned in previous posts. But today I realized there’s another group I’ll call “selectively friendly acquaintances”. These are people who are friendly as long as I conform to their societal standards. In other words, when I’m behaving myself, I’m in their good graces. When I’m not, it is appropriate to shame or shun me as they see fit. There are also neutral acquaintances. We smile and nod when we meet, but have no emotional attachments or expectations. Finally, come strangers who are simply people I have yet to interact with and determine where they might fall.

Nurturing the Child Within

For some reason, the insecure little child inside me keeps insisting on trying to make friends with the selectively friendly acquaintances, despite having been set down hard on more than one occasion; despite understanding the rules governing their acceptance, or really, tolerance of my presence. And when I invariably blunder and violate another of their rules, I spend too much time beating myself up and letting them shame me before I finally realize it doesn’t matter. They are the “other people” in my favorite catch phrase what other people think of me is none of my business. There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell they’ll ever accept me for who I am. They will always find a reason to look down on me like I’m some slimy worm crossing their path. So why do I let it bother me, even for a minute?

I have to admit there are still remnants of the acne-ridden girl with glasses and braces who desperately wanted to be accepted. She believed her mother who kept telling her she was fat and suffered a long serious of humiliating nicknames from classmates. She cared because she believed she was on the outside, never realizing there was a perfectly good circle of friends who included her without question. She could only see where she was excluded and failed to appreciate that the places she was included were far better.

Taking Ultimate Responsibility

Even now, I know those I keep allowing to make me feel small aren’t the ones I want to be close to anyway, but I can’t stop trying, knowing I will continue to give them reason to mistreat me again. With each new experience, I am reminded to treat everyone courteously, but to only allow a few past the length of my arm. The times I forget and let some in closer, I get slapped down and reminded yet again. Or worse, I spend a few hours beating myself up for being insensitive, when their response was equally so.

I’ve finally started to recognize those who I will invariably say something to irritate them and who will respond unkindly. They’ve decided not to like me, and that’s not only their right, but it’s perfectly OK. But like the kids in the school yard who called me names or pushed me down, they don’t have the right to be cruel. Yet it falls on me because as long as I allow it, they’ll continue to believe they are justified.

Recognizing Those Who Come into our Lives for a Reason, and Responding Accordingly

I truly believe people come into our lives for a reason. Clearly, the selectively friendly acquaintances come into my life to teach me to honor my own boundaries. We all have the right to be treated respectfully even when we make mistakes. We’re human and making mistakes is part of our learning process. If we make none, we cease to evolve. So I’m grateful to the people who fail to recognize my worthiness and treat me as a lesser being. They make me stand up for that sad little girl who didn’t realize how special she truly was. They make me wrap my arm around her shoulders, give her a hug, and tell her about all the things which make her unique and valuable. They make me tell her to ignore the bullies and meanies who mistakenly believe that making her and others like her feel inadequate will fill the holes in themselves.

My words may, at times, come out wrong, but my heart is always in the right place and doesn’t deserve to be stomped on for expressing things badly. That insecure little girl deserves a better champion. And she’s going to get it from now on! I’m done trying to win over those who were lost before I ever began. Why am I wasting time on them when there are some amazing people who love me in spite of, or maybe even because of my warts? They deserve better from me too..

With Love and Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I’m grateful for the people in my life who treat me harshly. It reinforces the lessons I need to learn about boundaries and my own worthiness.
  2. I am grateful for introspective days which help me find my true north when I’ve wandered too far away.
  3. I’m grateful for the friends who support me and even kick my butt now and then. Knowing they believe in me makes it easier to fight the battles that come my way.
  4. I’m grateful for the peace and sanctity of my home. No matter how sad I might be, it can be cured with some cuddle time with my cats and a chat with my Guides and Higher Self.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; insight, lessons, cherished friends, peaceful retreats, inspiration, motivation, uplifting moments, aha moments, love, joy, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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