Thursday, May 31, 2012


Whenever I start feeling worried, restless, defensive or full of doubt, it all boils down to a lack of acceptance of myself and my situation.  I know this, but I forget it so easily.  I start getting caught up in those feelings and old ways of attempting to resolve them - like over-analyzing, planning, obsessing, arguing, blaming, or complaining.  But sometimes I just need to face the fact that I am not as perfect as I’d like to be.  And that not being perfect is absolutely OK. 

When I acknowledge and accept my imperfections, all of the doubt and defensiveness melts away.  What’s left after that is a sigh of relief and a smile.

Letting go is so much easier than trying to be right all the time.

Yeah, I know.  This post is in contrast to what I wrote about earlier, that having a sense of being right has significant value in my life.  It is all about balance.  The problem with being right a lot of the time is that it makes it more difficult to accept being wrong.  But the fact of the matter is, I'm not right all of the time so I need to be realistic.

It is difficult for a perfectionist to let her guard down, but this is what must be done.  I can just relax already.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

I always used to get a hard time from my classmates in school all while growing up because I was “bossy.”  I have this thing about feeling like I am right most of the time.  And when I feel like I am right about something, I don’t let up, even when people tell me not to be concerned about something.  Kids thought I was stuck-up and rejected me.

Now that I have grown, not letting up when I think I am right about something pays off often.  This quality is a big part of why I am so successful at my job!  I catch things that others don’t and I follow through to make sure things get fixed, even when people tell me certain things are already taken care of.  I can see for myself when something has not been taken care of or not being done the right way, and I will push to get it corrected.  The team I support and the company I work for benefit, and I receive recognition and financial benefits for my efforts.  In addition, my confidence and thoroughness instills trust in people and makes it easy to gain their confidence.  There are still a few people I work with who get annoyed with me, because I am always challenging them, but at the end of the day, the job is getting done right.  And I do my best to be kind and cordial when challenging others.  I don’t intend anything to be personal.

I wish I would have known when I was a kid that these are good qualities.  That being assertive and going against the grain can be very useful life skills in adulthood.  I endured a lot of social pain while growing up because of it, but now I see that it was all worth it.

I’ve been reading a book called “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth” by Alexandra Robbins that talks about this very phenomenon.  In school, conformity is king.  Cliques are formed and once part of a particular clique, god forbid you do anything other than what the rest of the group does. But while conformity has its place in society, non-conformity is what is going to make our society evolve.  Albert Einstein failed out of school because his ideas were so unusual, and then he came up with the theory of relativity which changed science forever.

From 7th grade to high school graduation, I intensely felt the pain of non-conformity.  I was called a nerd, a goodie-goodie and stuck-up.  I got good grades, had a moral compass, and had a confident and assertive personality.  I may have been bossy, but I was not skilled in meanness.  I was never the kind of person who could think of great comebacks when people cut me down.

The Robbins book talks about how in order for people to be popular, they have to be skilled in meanness.  I can say from experience that is true.  The “popular” people in school always had to protect their status by putting others down.  The term “popular” for those kids really is an oxymoron.  I wouldn’t say they were really well-liked.  They just had the power of meanness going for them.  They did their best to push everyone below them by tearing them apart emotionally and sometimes physically in order to appear better than them.

But ultimately, the front of “popular” or “loser/nerd” are a sham.  No matter how much the mean kids tried to bring me down, I still stood tall.  I still stayed true to myself.  I questioned my worth, for sure, but ultimately, I was not defined by others.  When school was over, it was clear to see that all the bad things they tried to make me believe about myself only had a small grain of truth.  And ultimately, I discovered that the things they said they hated me for, were positive traits that have helped me to have happiness and success in my life.

Their influence was very strong though.  So many times I doubted my self-worth and it was truly a struggle to stay on top of it, especially in junior high.  In high school I was able to use what I learned in junior high, at least after an initial period of trying really hard to conform.  Freshman year I had big hair, touched up my make-up throughout the day, and became a cheerleader.  But as time went on, it was clear that I was not the same as the other cheerleaders.  I wasn’t interested in tanning or manicures or gossip.  I tended to stay somewhat quiet and on the fringe.  I was rarely invited to parties or social events outside of school or cheerleading.

Then I joined a music group, a glee club of sorts, and I also signed up for the school musical.  I felt like I had found my place.  I stopped cheerleading and being so concerned about my appearance and focused on music and theater.  I made some good friends that way, though very few of them were in my graduating class, so I still felt pretty lonely in high school in general.  Especially since defecting from the cheerleader/party scene made me a target of torment for those continuing in that scene. 

I always resented the saying that the years of high school are the “best years of your life.”  They weren’t.  But I made the best of those years for sure.  I continued to get good grades and participate in activities that I enjoyed and just keep to myself during all the rest of it.  I am grateful for the challenge presented to me to stay true to myself despite the pressure to conform.  It made me stronger, wiser and more powerful.  I have no regrets, only joyful gratitude and a bit of laughter at the silliness of all of it.