TFFT: My Friends Don’t Always Give Me That Standing Ovation.


It seems like every day, on Social Media, you come across another group of people talking about someone else.  It usually involves pointing at something they have done, which according to their interpretation is NOT the way it is supposed to be done.  They parade out interactions that are probably so innocent in their intent and throw them on the floor for the lions to rip into.

Despite a bazillion sentiments like the one above, plastered all over the internet, people continue to gather their groups to publicly flog anyone and everyone who is not part of the group.

What they don’t even begin to understand is that most of us do not take that on board as evidence against the person they are discussing … we take it on board as evidence of who these people are.  With every jab and comment, they strip away their own fancy clothes and self righteousness to reveal their own vulnerabilities and fears.

When people who are working in creative endeavors, complain about the WAY other people create, that tells me that they are incredibly insecure about their own gifts and may even feel threatened by the person they attack, or are in desperate need of reassurance from their pack that they are awesome.  Many people do not know how to be awesome all on their own.  They need dead bodies on the playing field to give them the high they are seeking.

When people who have worked hard to be where they are and it has taken time, look at others starting out and want them to “know their place” or to “earn” their place, that tells me again about their own insecurity.

When people jump all over someone, drawing conclusions that could be true, but so could many other possibilities, that lets me know what they need it to be and further pinpoints their own insecurities.

The fact that people need to expose an incident to the hate of everyone, is cruel.

Not making allowances for language difficulties and perhaps meanings getting lost in translation, is cruel.

Making a private interchange public, is cruel.

We are bad enough on our own, with our insecurities and personal struggles, we are horrible when we get into groups.  Groups are usually formed to accomplish some task or for some purpose but the associations in them are often bolstered by people’s insecurities.  It is a way or reassuring each other that you are better than those who are not in the group.

The problem we have is that most of life is a popularity contest that has nothing to do with being the best, or deserving accolades.  If you are liked, your work will be liked.  Doors will open for you.  People who do not seek groups, who know how to be successful on their own, have to create their own doors to open.  It is harder, make take longer, but because the only voice that really matters when it comes to accolades, is the one within themselves, they do not require a gang around them to applaud and approve AND it is much more satisfying.  To be able to stand and know that you own every aspect of your success is amazing and just spurs you on to greater things.

I do things because I have done things.  I know what I can do.

There is a tremendous sense of beauty in that.  The push is only on yourself.  It allows you to see what others do and be inspired and excited about it.  It allows you to focus on the work and discuss it and to not reduce everything in life to personalities and attacking people.  It is true, you do not have a crowd always standing around you to party with BUT you have good friends who are willing to tell you the truth.  People in groups might have 50 people there most of the time but are any of them real friends?

We have put so much emphasis on being liked and being popular.  We would rather people tell us what we want to hear, than believe people who are willing to tell us the truth because they love us.  We defend our lives based on “all my friends do it,” or “everyone thinks this dress looks great on me,” because the group is committed to telling one another exactly what they know they want to hear.  That being “we are all perfect.”   “We are all right all the time.”  “Yes!”

When the group discusses a situation they tend to reduce it to a personal attack on the person involved.  They are a “skank” or a “loser.”  They do not focus on the event.  When the group discusses one another they also tend to focus on the person – this time in a praiseworthy way – and not the incident.   We aren’t doing one another any favours.

Ask yourself when the last time was that you allowed for someone to criticize you and were ok with it, even took it on board, without anger or resentment?  Is anyone allowed to do that in your life?  Think about it.

I have lived my life in kind of two extremes.  I was really alone as a kid growing up, even though I was active in all kinds of sports and other activities.  I just liked to be alone.  I remember one night after doing a concert at the University, I went to a house party where most of the people wanted to hang with me and talk about my performance.  While all the attention may seem like a desired reward, it was not what I wanted or needed.  I made my way to one of the bedrooms and sat in the dark, feeling so pleased with my performance, and happy.   I just wanted alone time with me.  That was just who I am.

Then I got married and became involved in all kinds of groups and organizations and was surrounded with hundreds of people who “loved” me.  Everyone was always over at our parties, we were invited everywhere, we saw the same dozens of people at the schools, sporting events for us and the kids, church … one big love fest.  And then my husband got very ill and was dying.  And over the three years he suffered before his death. EVERY ONE of those people disappeared from our lives.  I had a crowd of “friends” if I could be happy and cheery and doing for everyone else.  In my deepest need, I had no-one.

I was not mad at all the people.  I was mad at myself because I had filled my life with empty meaningless shit.

It was an opportunity to take a long hard look at myself and make some changes.

Sometimes I look at the groups that I will probably never be invited to join again because I refuse to give up my own voice, or creativity ever again . . . but I turn and look at the people in my life who inspire me and push me and are willing to say they DON’T LIKE something I say or do, or that they disagree, or to call me on something and I know, with all my heart, that I am loved and that THIS KIND of love will never ask or allow me to be less than I really am.  I need help.  I make mistakes.  I can’t afford a crowd to tip the scales of decision on anything because misery likes company.

I have tried new things constantly.  I do things my way.  I please ME first and foremost and welcome input from others who can help me to become a better me.  I don’t want to be a clone.  I was never meant to be a clone.  And neither were you.

I have tried so hard, and will continue to do so with the grand children who are open for a relationship, to give my family the knowledge of their own strength and gifts and a belief that they are strong . .. their roots, as well as the wings to soar beyond the known and ordinary … to be themselves.  I make it a point to try and do that with people I meet in life.  I may not have much in common with them, my gifts might be very different, the way I do things even more different, but I can love people, and support their efforts to be their best selves.  We all can.  It is a choice we get to make about who we are, how we have impacted this world, and the legacy we will leave behind.

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