I promised to be real and not shy away from the messy. So, here goes…
I recently had someone dear to me stay with me. This person appeared to me to be tethered to her phones. I suggested doing things, she would agree and while we were out and about, she would still be checking her emails, skype and texts. She seemed to be forever scrolling and looking at her screen.
We went for an overnight trip to see the VanGogh Immersive event. Although she said that she had those two days off, she was still checking her phones. If anyone reached out, she felt obligated to respond. I found myself feeling frustrated. She wasn’t being present with me. Once we got to the hotel, the first thing she said was, “I can’t get on the internet.” I think the first words out of my mouth were, “I need a minute. They won’t die without you for 15 minutes!”
There was a part of me that wanted her attention. That wanted her to want to connect with me. However, instead of saying that I silently fumed and judged her.
The next morning, as I prepared to go for a walk around the city for an hour, she opted to stay in the hotel room and work. I found myself getting madder and madder. She was supposed to have the day off! When was she ever going to have the chance to see the city of Charlotte again? I left the room without saying more than a terse goodbye. One of my “go to’s” when I am upset is to shut down to the person that I am upset with and get away from them as quickly as possible.
I silently began judging her again about her choices. Then the abandoned child in me decided to chime in: if I was more interesting, she would want to spend time with me…I shouldn’t have snapped last night. That’s why she would rather work…If I were a nicer person, she would want to go for a walk…why did I have to leave with an attitude? No wonder she doesn’t want to spend time with me.
I decided to call a friend. Because I knew that if I talked about it out loud, I would have to take responsibility for what was mine. At first, I just vented. Sometimes I just need to vent to let my feelings out. My close friends know this about me and just hold the metaphorical wastepaper basket as I spew. Spewing in a safe space allows me to then see what is mine to own.
I was upset because I believed that she wasn’t having fun, I was mad at her for not having fun. And I was mad at her for not having fun with me. I was allowing myself to be angry and not have fun because I was demanding that someone else have fun with me so that I could have fun. Wow! I was letting my fun be determined by the amount of fun that I perceived her as not having. I was believing that she didn’t want to have fun with me because I did something wrong.
That’s how the judgments snowballed in that situation. That’s how my unloving beliefs were weighing me down.
What I realized in that moment was that I could have fun on my own. I was not the “fun police”. Maybe working was fun for her. It wasn’t up to me to figure it out. She was free to make her choices and I was free to make mine. As I allowed myself to shift into that new belief, I felt a shift. I felt lighter. I was then able to walk around the city by myself and my smile was big and real. I enjoyed going into a beautiful church and marveling at the stained glass. I enjoyed the paintings that were on the sides of a few buildings. I walked up a few stairs into a cemetery and a golden retriever came bounding towards me. And right before I got back to the hotel, as I was getting ready to cross the street, I got into a conversation with a lovely man that upon finishing our talk, he said, “Enjoy your day and keep spreading the joy!”
When I’m willing to take responsibility for what’s mine, I experience a shift. When I look at my own judgments, and am curious about what is behind them and then am honest about what it is costing me, I have an opportunity to experience a miraculous shift and feel lighter.
And that’s what I’m interested in… lightening up and letting sh*t go. The crap that weighs me down and stops me from experiencing fun and joy in my own life. Oh! and when I got home and weighed myself after the trip, I was a pound lighter.