I jumped out of bed to check my email. Did she respond? NO. She said she would be back to her emails on Monday. Today is Friday. Why am I not hearing from her? Ahhh…could it be? She’s heard about me from those people. She is no longer interested in me or my book.
Once I shook out the morning cobwebs, and came to my senses, I had a good laugh. The email I’m referring to is from an editor. We corresponded last week, researched each other’s sites and expressed a mutual interest in working together to edit my book. She said she would be away until Monday but to send her my questions and she would get back to me. Being the not so patient person that I am, Monday seems light years away. The reality is; if she was away from her work for a few days it will take her a few more days to catch up. I’m quite sure I am still on her radar.
So, what was the “She’s heard from those people” nonsense? It is the point of this blog post.
No matter how far along we are on our healing journey there will be times when old stuff creeps back in.
My old stuff is usually related to poor self-esteem, one of the most damaging outcomes of abuse. Over a year ago I was asked to conduct a workshop. It was my first formal presentation. There were a few legitimate reasons why the workshop did not go well. Some were my doing and some were out of my control. Here’s where my old stuff creeps in. That first presentation knocked me back a few steps in my internal quest to maintain self-esteem. The old you’re just not good enough tape was playing in my head. It took a conscious effort to view the experience as a part of the learning process and not as a failure. Since then I’ve moved on and have given several talks with great success.
When something is not going quite right; a prospective agency doesn’t get back to me about a presentation, someone doesn’t follow through on a commitment to have me speak to their group, OR an editor doesn’t answer my email in a timely fashion, I have this fleeting thought—Those people, the ones from that first presentation, somehow let them know I was not good enough.
Is it absurd? Yes. But as a survivor of abuse, who had to work to find and maintain self worth, it is real. The important message is what you do with that fleeting thought.
First, recognize it, and ‘it’ is whatever old stuff creeps back in, as just that: old stuff. Remind yourself that you have moved forward and are no longer living in your past. Then do as I did this morning and have a good laugh. When we can laugh at ourselves and our absurdities we know we have taken a huge step forward on this ongoing journey to being healed and whole.