Lessons from a cheesy book.
First I fell apart.
Then I spent the next three years figuring out why. Eventually, I realized that I didn’t really know myself. I had been pretending.
Then I read an article about small acts of kindness and how their ripple effect can change the world. I was inspired. I could sense in my heart that this was something real. I was drawn to do it, enticed by my feelings and I imagined all the kind acts I could perform.
Then a voice inside of me insisted that I listen carefully.
That voice told me it was a stupid idea. Then it told me that people would take advantage of me, that I would be laughed at for being too naive and that it was more important to protect myself. It reminded me that being open and wholehearted wasn’t very cool. It told me it was more important to act tough and stay closed in.
This was a familiar voice. I’d been hearing it for years. It reminded me how important it was to stay safe.
This old story was coming from the small child that was teased and didn’t feel safe. It kept me hidden and small. It made me flippant, acting as if I didn’t care.
It was coming from the place where I had to act a certain way to get along in the corporate world of the eighties and nineties. I had to toe the line, act tough and get along.
As I listened to the voice, I noticed a problem with that story.
I no longer remembered how to be ‘that person’. The one who was tough and closed in.. I built a complex persona by building up layers of protection. There were so many layers….
I faked it for years until I fell apart
Since then, I’ve been uncovering the person who is hiding under all that pretending. I’ve been listening for clues and following the breadcrumb trails.
I realize that acting tough doesn’t fit me anymore. It makes me feel stressed out and sad and confused. I’ve been asking’ myself, “What part of me is not comfortable with this story? What part of me wants to come out instead”?
Then I heard my Pollyanna voice. (Pollyanna was a character from the 1913 book Pollyanna, by Anna Sewell. She was seriously cheesy and blindly optimistic about people.)
The Pollyanna part of me wants to stand up and be seen. She is the part of me that wants to trust. I want to trust in the universe, to trust people to do the right thing, to trust myself to make good decisions.
I’ve spent years mocking this part of me as not practical, not appropriate or not welcome. I’ve spent years suppressing my Pollyanna inclinations, toughening up so I can survive in the ‘real’ world. I was crushing her, bit by bit.
And now I see my truth. The Pollyanna part is the best part of me. It is the part of me that is drawn to soppy stories where people help one another, where people step up in the difficult moments, the helpers that appear, seemingly out of nowhere.
It’s that part of me that is moved to tears at the kindness of strangers. It’s the part that sometimes knows exactly what to do.
My Pollyanna view of the world isn’t something to overcome or protect myself from. It isn’t something to be embarrassed by or something to change in myself
It’s my superpower.
It’s a powerful feeling. It rises up when I read about the person who held a strangers hand for hours so that they didn’t have to be alone while waiting for the emergency crews.
It’s the part that believes in the quiet heroes that do their part with no thought for themselves, those heroes who say, ‘it’s not me, thank the universe — thank the energy of love — that’s what happened here’.
It’s my super power, my strength, my source of love and my way to find the universe.
I am so in love with this part of me and so excited to reclaim it now. I’ve been withholding it from the universe for too long.