I Want You to Want Me
My kids this year are great – happy, funny and generous. Unfortunately, they’re also generous with their germs. Thursday night, those lovely little bugs finally got the best of me and led to a feverish Friday on the couch. My mind was too scrambled to focus on a book, so I ended up reading through the thousands of posts backlogged on my Feedly reader. And, as so often happens on the internets, one click led to another and another.
Until I ended up here on Penelope Trunk’s blog (possible trigger warning – domestic violence).
I’ve subscribed to her blog for years through my RSS reader, but only read the occasional post. I thought she was all about business and start-ups.
The post in question made me very uncomfortable. In it, she displays a picture with a bruise on her hip and tells an accompanying story about her husband shoving her into the bedpost. She is writing from a hotel room with her two kids, where she has sought refuge for the night.
But she doesn’t want to leave him. In fact, she claims in another post that domestic violence is a question of boundaries and that the abused can alter the dynamic alone. Like with so many inflammatory statements, there is a sliver of truth. There are patterns that tend to be in play that lead someone into an abusive relationship. And those (usually childhood) issues have to be addressed for that person to be in a healthy relationship. But, and here’s where my view differs, the first boundary that has to be enforced is getting away from the abuser. And then work on yourself. Get safe first (and get your kids safe) and then get healthy.
Her last sentence in the bruise post seemed to explain it all:
“That’s why I can’t leave. I want someone to miss me.”
Ah, now that’s a sentiment I think we all can understand in some form.
It’s human nature to want to be wanted. From being an early pick for the kickball game in elementary school to being tagged on Facebook from a friend, we all get a little thrill when we are chosen and feel the sting of rejection when we are not.
It’s natural. We’ve evolved to thrive in a community and, at the most basic evolutionary level, those that are not included are less likely to thrive as they struggle alone on the outskirts.
But as is so often the case, a basic drive can also go haywire. We can be so focused on being wanted that we ignore our basic safety and our own boundaries and beliefs. We can twist ourselves into parodies, subvert our true nature or ignore red flags just to save our spot as a chosen one.
The pain of rejection is real. And it is powerful.
But sometimes the pain incurred by avoiding rejection may be even worse.
Especially when you’re rejecting yourself in hopes of being accepted and desired by another.
We all want to be wanted.
But don’t compromise yourself just to be picked.
And make sure you’re wanted for who you are.
Because who you are is enough.
I’d pick you for my team any day:)