- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- The Mastery of Love – Don Miguel Ruiz
I’m heading to the Library this week to pick up some new brain food. I’ve heard amazing things about Paulo Coelho, and have been meaning to pick up The Alchemist for a while. The other two titles are both pretty relevant to my recent adventures in polyamorous break-up disaster.
I realize now that what I was being asked — expected, really — to do was fit in, rather than belong. It seems plausible that to recover from that experience, I need to reconnect with the things that make me most Myself, and re-learn to love and cherish what was rejected, sublimated, ignored, dismissed, or bullied by others who valued only the parts of me that reflected their values and beliefs. It reinforces something I’ve known about myself for a long time — I thrive most when what is valued most about me are the things that do not serve others.
My suspicion of people who flatter me for being caring or empathetic is warranted. They’re right there, expressing what is valuable to them — my ability to give of myself, likely, to them. Hey there, red flag, how’s it going. I know that people who love me deeply acknowledge this capacity, but if I were to ask Tomthulhu, Amanda, Jenn, Amy, Carl — any of my nearest and dearest, directly, “What do you value most about me?” None of them — NONE — would say anything that even remotely approached my capacity and susceptibility to provide care or concern, or my ability to sense, intuit, read, understand, or respond the feelings of others. The people who define me by these abilities are not only mistaken, they are likely predatory. It is probable that their affection for me is conditional and at its root, objectifying. Recent experience bears that out in full force.
What’s funny is, I know what each of my truest bluest would say already — because those relationships, different as they are, are already based upon reflecting, reminding, and enacting what is most valuable about each other on a daily basis. I never have to ask, because I already know. While words of affirmation remain one of the fundamental ways I internalize being loved, I ought take better care of what words I allow to touch me. Reinvesting myself in the things that I love about myself will help me heal the wounds and anger I’m left to process.
So now, Off to the Library. I can smell it now.