Saturday, July 29, 2017

     Who makes you feel “more than?” Who makes you feel “less than?” How do you make people feel? When they walk away from an encounter with you, what will they say? What aura do you leave behind? Will they say, “She has so much energy!” “He is so boring.” “She is so full of herself.” “He is so funny!” When I walk away from someone feeling energized, appreciated, heard or validated, I feel good. When I walk away feeling deflated, invisible or one-upped, I feel terrible. No, we should not let people have so much power that they can change how we feel about ourselves, but, guess what? In the moment, it happens. I don’t
know about you, but I want to walk away and have people I’ve left feel great. I want them to feel good about themselves, not necessarily only good about me. When we feel “less than,” it can color our focus, sometimes for days.

     How does someone make you feel “more than” or “less than?” I can quote all kinds of famous people who say things like “only you can make yourself feel bad,” but in reality, we are all human, and regardless of how long the feelings last, people can make us feel good or bad in the moment.

     Do you feel bad when someone “unfriends” you on Facebook? Do you feel bad when someone flips you off in traffic? Do you feel bad when someone says, “That’s totally untrue. You are wrong!” If none of these apply, then stop reading now. If you are feeling validated, forge ahead.

     I have had the very unsettling, disturbing experience of being “unfriended” face to face. This happened to me twice in my thirties. One so-called friend said in so many words that I made her feel “less than.” I have never been a braggart, and I certainly never intended to make her feel that way, but she said that all that I accomplished and represented made her feel insignificant and a failure. She certainly was anything but. Later, I found out that her husband apparently had the hots for me. (Who knew?) The other so-called “friend,” said she couldn’t be around someone who was always so self-deprecating. Ironic, huh? That one I still haven’t figured out. You can imagine the shock and awe on my face when these messages were delivered to my face. Well, it’s all part of trying to understand what provokes and motivates people. I’m still fascinated by how people think, especially women. 

     Last week-end, I was feeling “less than” in a conversation with a good friend. The friend did not brag, exactly. She certainly never said anything unkind about me. It was what she was telling us that she did, what she learned and how quickly she accomplished it all. Sometimes, and perhaps it’s my own insecurities, people make us feel “less than” by what they do “more than” us. If you go kayaking three times a week, then good for you. This does not threaten me, as I don’t want to do it, and it would not make me feel better about myself. If, au contraire, you read ten books a week, take three courses, begin writing your first novel while working on your PhD, then I might be threatened. Why? Because I would like to be able to do any or all of those things, and I haven’t. 

     What do you think about all this? Do some people leave you feeling invisible or “less than?” Do you walk away from others feeling energized, inspired or just warm and fuzzy?