I had a revelation this week that was quite confronting and not pretty.
I had brought up to someone how I haven’t been able to handle that they told me that my life was pathetic a year ago. They’re response was “I only had said that out of anger, that says more about me than it does about you… why have you held on to this so long?”
After a discussion the person apologized, but I didn’t feel better. I knew it was said to me out of anger – and that doesn’t make it okay – but it stayed with me. At my worst of times, while struggling with health or sleep or difficulties this year I said “Maybe your life is pathetic”.
Why did I allow something that was obviously untrue to creep into my mind?
My parents said to me when I was much younger that I appeared confident. I seemed like I had more confidence than the world and I was always trying to make people laugh.
As a result my parents believed that this is why some people thought it was okay to say things to me that they wouldn’t to anyone else… to “put me in my place”. The thing is, I was always trying to make people laugh because I was really sad, and depressed – and I didn’t want anyone to feel as sad as I did inside.
This reminded me of all the comedians that admit that they have struggled a lot and dealt with depression on a regular basis and use coping mechanisms to get through life.
Also, I’m an auditory learner so anything that was negative said to me, I kept with me. Here I had thought that I was honest with myself… that I had healed. I had not.
As a result of my laughter and brightness, and what appeared to be confidence – I was exposed to a lot of verbal abuse and people trying to shame me. My parents thankfully were amazing!! Unfortunately, a lot of people around me and in my life, including teachers etc… thought I needed to not let that light shine. Little did they realize, making people laugh, smiling, and appearing confident was part of my coping mechanisms.
Little did I realize – I had held on to all the criticism. It only hit me this week that I had thought I had healed when really I just had shoved the pain of those words deep down only to bring them out and beat myself up with them whenever I felt shame or pain.
“They must be right”, is what I tell myself in my worst moments. I share this brutal and painful honesty because I would like to people to know, that even the most “confident” people, the ones that go around cheering everyone else up, or trying to make them laugh, are holding onto some deep pain. No matter how confident or “okay” someone seems, they still appreciate encouragement. Sometimes their brightest days are the days they are struggling the most.