A friend shared this with me yesterday:
I am "condescendingly arrogant." My ex used these words to describe me this morning. Translation: "You have a new attitude on life that really bothers me because you are not taking my crap anymore and you’re sticking up for yourself."
So the “problem” here seems to be that my friend is awesome (I can vouch for that) and that she recognizes her own worth. Hmmm, aren’t we all awesome? Aren’t we all worthy? Isn’t the problem typically that, instead of owning our own awesomeness and self-worth, we hide or act small?
We hide because it’s safe. But safe from what? Hiding may protect us from hurtful insults, but it will also protect us from our dreams.
And we act small because we don’t want to rock the boat, but whose boat are we rocking? And if that boat’s not going in the direction we want it to, then why not rock it?
Let’s go back to my friend and her ex and let’s put them in boats. Once upon a time, my friend and her ex were adrift in the sea of former relationships. He sailed along in his boat and kept her close by in a dinghy loosely tied to the stern. That way, he always knew where she was and what he could expect from her. But one day, she stood up and rocked the boat. And then she started shaking her groove thing and trusting her brilliance. And suddenly the little dinghy broke free from the big boat and started forging its own path.
This must have terrified her ex. But what must have been even scarier for him was when she outgrew that little dinghy and got her own damn boat. She had gathered up the courage to expose her brilliant self to the world and was now the captain and the navigator of her own yacht. She was the leader of her own life. And her ex, perhaps scared of his own vulnerability, did what many people do when they’re afraid: He launched a grenade—a “condescendingly arrogant” grenade.
And guess what: That grenade had nothing to do with my friend. It came from a place of fear, and fear (FYI), is not a fun place. When her ex saw her confidently piloting her own boat, he chose to feel inadequate or lonely or vulnerable or some other perfectly normal fearful emotion. That fear led him to protect himself by hurling an insult her way.
What happened next? Did she flip him off as the grenade splooshed into the ocean (without harming any marine life)? I don’t know, but she can certainly be much more helpful to him from her own yacht than she could ever be from his dinghy. And maybe, just maybe she inspired him to own his own awesomeness.
How about you? Is there someplace in your life that you’ve been acting small? Have you been playing it safe to keep the peace?
What would happen if you rocked the boat? What would happen if you showed up in all your brilliance, owning your awesomeness and self-worth? What would happen if you got your own damn boat? Where would you go? What would you do? Who would you inspire?