I talked to a friend on the phone the other day who I hadn't chatted with in a few months. She thought I was mad at her because she didn't get our Christmas card.
Let me get right into this. This freaking Christmas Card drama of 2016 --- we didn't send one this year. And I waffled back and forth a MILLION TIMES. I made the decision that it wasn't happening and then each night with a mailbox full of perfectly-curated cards with beautiful designs and photos and matching outfits and hair that is washed I would say to Matt, "tomorrow I'm gonna throw a card together and send it."
Back and forth. A million times. It was a lot of things - time. I went to the Caymans and that seemed more fun that hunting through 203920392 iphone pics for one where Matt and I AND the dog are not sweating or wearing an old concert t-shirt that has some inappropriate saying on it, my back was not healthy for 3 weeks between Mid-November and early December and I spent a lot of time focusing on healing energy and visiting the chiropractor and frankly- I didn't make it a priority.
One friend told me, "you know, if you don't send one- you'll get crossed off everyone's list for next year and get like none.'
Another, "it really is common courtesy."
And so, my heart broke into a million pieces when my sweet sweet friend who I adore said she thought we might be mad at her because she didn't see a card from us.
UNTIL I REALIZED THIS.
Projection people. My friend IMMEDIATELY followed up her statement with, "but I know better, like how many books have we read on this- I knew I shouldn't be taking it personally or thinking this was something about me." You see - this friend & I - we've had long long talks about taking shit personally. And how easily we all do it.
I've been known to open my mouth, say something, later realize it may have been rude, then text people the next day to double triple check that they didn't take what I said as being rude and I didn't mean to hurt them and my stomach is in knots. Anyone else?
Women especially. Its like we've been groomed to walk around on eggshells to not piss anyone off and not say the wrong thing. I believe this is because we empathize so organically. And if you can't empathize- move out of my way because that's tough energy to be around. But the part about eggshells? Not wanting to push the envelope? Nahhh -- we need to get over that. We also need to get over- as a whole- the part where something happens and we think ITS SOMEHOW ABOUT US.
Look - humans are selfish. No question. I'm selfish. You're selfish. But taking everything as something personal, something made to hurt us or 'send a message' -- its exhausting. It's not about you. But its SO EASY to think it is. I had a friend email me this summer about if I was mad at her and I emailed back "I THOUGHT YOU WERE MAD AT ME." --- what the hell is going on here ladies!?
Don't take it personally. But, when it is personal- give 'em hell. But don't give 'em hell until you can confirm that it really is personal.
That sentence made my head hurt.
PS- I'm sending a card next year, promise. ;)