Twice in the same week, someone wrote the word “disappointed” with regards to their feelings about me.
For the past 30 or so years, those words (and many others) have pushed me into terrible depression. In reasonably sane people, you’d probably allow only a few people’s disappointment to let you feel this way. Maybe your mom’s utterance of that phrase (and many others) would send you into that depression. Maybe your spouse.
With me, however, I would let anyone use the words and their impact would take me down. Whoever wanted to pick up my puppet strings and alter my feelings, I’d surrender that power unto them. Not consciously, mind you, but I was always trying my best to please whoever it was who came in contact with me. All the time, I was seeking to avoid that worry of disappointing people.
We Give Others Our Strings
Now that I’ve been working so hard on figuring myself out, I’ve realized that I was running around, giving other people the strings so that they could pull me in plenty of directions. None of those people were bad. Heck, several didn’t even realize that I’d tied my strings to them. Other times, I most certainly tangled my strings around someone, thinking that maybe I’d avoid disappointing someone if I could just be whatever it was I thought they might need.
But that’s all me. I gave away my strings. I tried tying them to anyone walking by. All me.
Take Back Your Strings
The only way to bring yourself to a better functionality is to take back your strings. This requires a lot of work, for some, and just a little bit of work, for others. It also requires acknowledging that we’ve given our strings to other people.
We give our bosses our strings when we worry that our actions will cost us our jobs. If we had our own strings, we’d just do the job the way we wanted to do it, and we’d hope to accomplish the goals our jobs held for us. We’d be open to learning, but we’d move our own puppets around instead of letting other people’s moods and thoughts direct us.
We give our loved ones our strings all the time. “I’d be a better writer, if only he supported me.” “I’m trying to get more healthy, but he keeps bringing home Kentucky Fried Chicken.” Really? These other people have all this power over us? We’ve given them the ability to decide our actions and outcomes? Wow!
So, take back your strings. Agree that you’ll move your little puppet self around through life. If you’re religious, and you don’t trust yourself with your own strings, give them to God (however you see that), but don’t give those strings to humans (even those who work for God). If you’re Buddhist, you work your own strings. I can’t speak for most of the other religions.
The two people who were disappointed in me had their reasons to be disappointed. In both cases, I’d chosen to do something that was counter to what they wanted me to do. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of disappointing. I don’t mean to hurt anyone; instead, I’m working on taking my strings back, and doing the things that I think will grow me, and grow my capabilities to help others.
To really accept that the term “disappointed” is pretty much synonymous with “you’re not doing what I want you to do” gave me a whole new sense of joy. Because those disappointments aren’t mine. They relate to someone putting their expectations on me. I don’t own that. Those aren’t my strings.
And now that I have my strings back (at least most of them), I’m working hard on writing my own damned puppet show. How about you? Who has your strings? Are you ready to get them back?