In our local The Work group last night, we explored our least favorite things to be told by someone else – what are they, where can I find it in myself or my life, can I also find their opposites, and what are their gifts?
For me, the list can easily be quite long. Here are some that come to mind…
- You are weird
- You are incompetent
- I don’t like you
- You are a liar
- You are selfish and self-centered
- You are a loser
- You are oblivious
Funny how these all seem to bring up least-favorite childhood memories…!
So let’s see if I can find these in myself, their opposites (finding myself as big enough to contain both), and also find the genuine gifts in each.
You are weird
Yes, I can see that I am weird in many different ways. I have some unusual interests (including in whatever I write about in this blog). I like unusual music. I don’t do much of what many do, such as going to bars on weekends. I prefer more quiet conversations with friends to big parties. I don’t always join in conversations on topics others find interesting, preferring to listen. I am sure my look can be seen as somewhat weird in different ways and different contexts (I especially noticed that when I was in rural Nepal!) A specific instance: I felt weird at times during the Breema retreat at Breitenbush this weekend, preferring to sleep and go on walks on my own rather than socializing (apart from meals.)
And at the same time, I am normal. My life is a human life, with all it means to be human. Nothing I have ever experienced or thought is something that I haven’t found expressed by someone else. My fears and insecurities seem to be quite ordinary, even common. A specific instance: last night during our local The Work meeting, where I saw that anything coming up for me – including the things I was most embarrassed about – was shared by others, sometimes all, in the group.
What are the gifts of being weird? Well, I am part of expanding what is allowed and expressed in human experience, maybe allowing others to be more comfortable with it as well. Others seeing it (and especially if I am comfortable with it) can help them be more comfortable with themselves and what they go through, maybe even enjoying it! I also get to explore areas of human experience where some others don’t go, filling out the map a little.
To be continued…