We were saying our good-bye's when one of my classmates said, "I'm surprised you came." The comment threw me off guard and I didn't know how to respond. That is not what I expected to hear. "Why does it surprise you?" The truth is, I almost didn't go to my reunion. I don't keep in touch with any school mates outside of Facebook, and let's be honest, that is only so we can photo stalk each other. Twenty years ago I was not who I am today. The high school version of me was insecure, unaware, and stuck, by choice, in a relationship that kept me socially unavailable because I was desperate for love and attention. Even then, regrettably, I didn't make connections with my classmates. So in my mind, if I was invisible twenty years ago, I would still be invisivible today. No one would notice whether or not I was there or no one would care. (Catch the limiting belief here?) The limiting belief about myself created blinders where there could have been relationships.
After much encouragement from my mother, who's main motive was one on one time with her grandson, I went to the Friday mixer, fully expecting to sit in a corner and not be noticed. I chose, however, to go in with an open mind, as I am no longer that insecure girl, and the limiting belief of not good enough was quickly proved wrong. After two nights of thoughtful conversations, belly laughing until my abs hurt, and staying up into the wee hours of the night, I was accepted because I gave them the real me.
What I (re)learned from my high school reunion is how much old blinders still affect me twenty years later. They come from the part of the brain that controls my instinctual desire to survive, and in our modern world that equates to being liked by others. But if we dig a little deeper and see beyond the story we will find that we have depth and meaning and that story is just that; words. Back then, I was only invisible to myself. That's the downfall about self perception; it is shallow, naive and unaware.
It begs the question, who do you make yourself out to be in the eyes of others and is it really true? Are you missing making a connection with someone because of what you believe about yourself? What you tell yourself varies vastly from what others see in you. Are they seeing good in you that you don't see?
What are your blinders from the past that affect you today?
When you walk into a social situation start paying attention to the narrative in your head. Chances are this story is keeping you from making meaningful connections with others and with yourself. When you become aware of what you tell yourself, you can begin the process of changing it.