Monday, August 20, 2012

Incongruent living is exhausting - Part 2

It’s worth a deeper dive into the experience with Mr. Nice Guy on Friday evening.  Throughout my probing, personal questions, he shared the story of his divorce and the pain that he ex-wife caused.  I wasn’t asking to be nosy or a gossip; forming a meaningful connection with someone is the only way I know to communicate.  I don’t know how to make small talk to pass the time but I can certainly establish a meaningful connection and talk about living life.

As I continued to read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, this passage really stuck out, as the perfect articulation of what happened with Mr. Nice Guy:
“If authenticity is my goal and I keep it real, I never regret it. I might get my feelings hurt, but I rarely feel shame. When acceptance or approval becomes my goal, and it doesn’t work out, that can trigger shame for me: “I’m not good enough.”  If the goal is authenticity and they don’t like me, I’m okay. If the goal is being liked and they don’t like me, I’m in trouble. “

After I asked the personal questions to Mr. Nice Guy, I felt as if I was getting too deep and he may not like that. I started second guessing myself and instead changed into what I thought he wanted to hang out with - back to fun loving, carefree. It’s not that fun loving isn’t a part of me, but authentically, having meaningful discussions is part of who I am as well.  And when the goal was for him to like me, I felt shame about being “too deep” or “thinking too much”, a familiar shame I’ve felt throughout the years.

As the weekend went by and I realized it didn’t matter what he thought, since this is going nowhere (aka not serious), I decided to write him an email with my response to the experiences he shared. Not to make him like me, not to elicit a response. Merely because I had the thoughts in the moment but kept them to myself, too scared to say anything. In changing my goal from being liked to being authentic, I decided that sharing what I learned from my own similar experiences was more important than worrying about being liked. Because that is what I do....who I am....what I am doing with this blog - sharing my experiences, forming a connection to my readers.

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