Sometimes its easier to remember the negative experiences than it is to remember the positive. Do you ever find that? When you’ve been told to think of times you succeeded at something, all you can think of are the times you failed hugely?
Now, I would consider myself a highly optimistic person, but I recently uncovered a negative perspective that I didn’t even know I was carrying.
I recently finished Stasi Eldridge’s book “Becoming Myself” and in one of the last chapters, she wrote about what it means to be chosen. We are asked to reflect on the times we’re picked or chosen in school for sports teams or school projects. Additionally, we needed to think of what it felt like to be asked or wanted by others for a larger purpose.
Instead of coming up with a list of amazing experiences, I reflected on the times I wasn’t chosen. My first memories tied to the word “chosen” were the with outs/not-enough's/ rejections, not the feel-good chosen instances. At the mere mention the word “chosen” were the experiences and emotions that seemed to repeat over the course of my life where I felt left behind, un-noticed, un-chosen, or seemingly invisible.
Thanks a lot for reminding me about how I had never been chosen, Staci. I thought this book was supposed to be encouraging!
I couldn’t resonate with what Stasi was trying to express. I kept reading but I was frustrated. I was responding with “yeah, that would have been nice to be chosen included, brought to be a part of…” I became the cynic that we all try to avoid in our social circles. You know the one, the individual who sets themselves up to be left out because they hate everything. Ugh. The worst.
In my argument, I refused to engage or even consider that I probably had been chosen many times in my life, therefore clinging to the times I was left out. Did you know that when we do this, we actually create unhealthy cycles in our lives that lead to us repeating these instances over and over again? We get more comfortable with the negative that we refuse to even consider the positive.
We choose our futures. In some circles, this could be referred to as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I ignored any positive association with the word “chosen” but built an identity based entirely on my bad experiences. As a result, I was defining my self-worth – both future and past - around instances or definitions that seemed huge at the time, but now seem so insignificant.
This might sound like: I wasn’t chosen then, why would anyone choose me now?
What’s crazy is that I built a relationship to a particular word based on instances that had no long lasting meaning. As a result, I disqualified myself as being something that word could possibly describe. Ever. Chosen? Nope. I’m not. I don’t care how you define it, let me recount the ways in which I don’t meet those criteria…
Have you done this? Have you disqualified yourself from being something because of how you’ve defined that word in the past?
I encourage all of us to take some time to consider words we’d like to use to describe ourselves, write them down, and save them for Part 2 - Redefining Chosen.