Thursday, March 13, 2008
My 15-year-old daughter came home today very excited that she'd earned a spot in advanced placement history class. She was excited and quite proud of herself. She should be. The girl is a worker and when she decides she wants to do something, she gets the job done. I admire her and though I probably tell her less often than I should, she inspires me. Her happiness and sense of self-satisfaction was marred by friends who had not made the list. Suddenly, getting into AP classes wasn't such a big deal. Kind of nerdy in fact.
Her experience immediately took me back to high school when I'd been selected as a homecoming princess and suddenly two of my 'friends' declared that being on the homecoming court was so uncool. Their advice: turn it down. I didn't and we didn't stay friends for much longer. Through the years since, there have been other occasions when the folks I thought had my back were some of the first to prick the bubble and try to let the air out of my excitement.
I told my daughter that story and gave her the same advice I give myself--don't give anyone the power to steal your joy.
Many of my Stiletto U students are dealing with the same issue. They are finding that one negative of finding their sensual, more confident selves has been the emergence of player haters. So I remind them that nothing gained comes without cost. If you want flowers you need rain. And it always seems like the first person to rain on your parade is the friend you expected would share her umbrella.
I think the hardest thing about the haters is their timing. Just when you feel the confidence and strength that comes from recognizing your own value and amazing attributes, here comes Ms. Pissed Off At the World, trying to tear you down for feeling good about yourself. And what makes it doubly bad is that if you've really learned the lessons, you're feeling more accepting of others just the way they are. You understand that there's no reason to tear anybody else down in order to build yourself up. You recognize that your power base comes not from ego but from love of self. So damn it, what's wrong with these heifers! And sadly, it's not just women. Some men in your lives may feel threatened as well.
So for those of you who have made big changes in your life and are also finding a little hatin' going on, think of it this way. With your transformation you have become a mirror. And when some folks look at the confident, sensual, new you, all they see reflected back are all the ways they feel inadequate and lacking. So instead of being happy for you and inspired by your growth, they get angry at you for having the courage to take control of your own success and happiness.
Sometimes the new you will find the need to sit these folks down and try understand their feelings. For some, when the status quo shifts, they are left feeling uncertain of their role. Maybe they've always been the ones who get all of the attention and now here you come. Friend has become competitor in their minds. Often they need to be reassured that just because you've changed doesn't mean everything around you will change too.
But sometimes it's a matter of misery loving company and those 'friends' will often try to hold you back. You will need to weed out those in your garden who are more concerned about choking back your growth than giving you the love and support to help you bloom.
The key is as long as your new found divaesque stature does nothing to belittle or make others feel less about themselves, you're okay and you just need to move on and upward. But always check yourself. Ego ain't sexy. Confidence is.
What do you think?