Uncovering the Sting

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The sinister creep of self doubt has a firm hold on me…whether I want it or not (and, for the record, I don’t). Had a conversation a few days ago. A well meaning colleague decided she should set me straight on a few things.

In other words, she gave me some advice on how I should handle a mutual relationship.

In other words, she told me my current approach was wrong. Her well intentioned input is a judgment on the way I’m choosing to handle things. She doesn’t like what I’m doing. Ouch.

Now, don’t get me wrong. She was gentle. And kind. And she wants things to improve—that was her motivation.

Can’t figure out if I’m more mad or more hurt.

See…she doesn’t know the whole story. Can’t know it, really. There’s parts to this story she isn’t privy to. Parts of the story, that, because of who she is, she can’t possibly understand. And without knowing those parts of the story, her advice is solid and noble and something I look like an idiot not to take. Or have already done a long time ago. Her advice has me feeling like a scolded child.

I know the whole story—and she doesn’t—so I wish I could be the bigger person and laugh about it. I should be able to take her words and hear the hidden message: “You matter to me. The situation matters to me. Enough I’m willing to stick my neck out.” I should be able to hear the hidden message for what she’s intending to say and disregard the parts that I know aren’t relevant.

I should be able to.

But I can’t.

It’s silly, and I know it. I find my eyes tearing up in the car driving alone while I’m thinking about it. I find myself coming up with some real “zinger” comebacks that I imagine saying to her (instead of the open mouth guppy-like movements I must have made during the actual conversation) when I would rather be busy thinking about other things.

Funny how our brains hold onto the painful moments, and we have trouble talking ourselves out of that, even when we have really effective ways of doing so.

It’s a funny thing being human. Having trouble letting a painful experience go, even when rationally it makes no sense to hold onto it. The way an off hand comment by someone can cut us to the quick, rebruising a long hidden soft spot that we had been blissfully unaware of.

I’ve got some work to do…sorting out what was in those comments that was truth and I can learn from (no point in throwing out the baby with the bathwater!), and what in me has trouble letting the rest fall away as chaff from the wheat. And to be gentle with myself because I know the “back story”, and I’m not the putz that I’m making myself out to be.

I better get to work.

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