April 18 - I Ought to Be Better by Now!

Today I was reminded of one of the parties that eClubSoda held a few years ago. It was a star-spangled night for me...many of our members met at our home, and as I looked around and saw the people who have come to mean so much to me, I thought, “So this is what it is like to be truly blessed.”

Each individual is uniquely special, and yet we are all more alike than different. I could see the courage it took for many to be here; after all, they had only met each other over the telephone and yet they had shared so vulnerably and intimately with each other.

I watched as people put names to voices and stories to lives. I saw women comforting one another, sharing their experience and wisdom. I witnessed a courageous soul expressing difficult and overwhelming emotions as she prepared the entree for her fellow club members...and I saw another listening to her pain with love and an occasional hug of understanding.

We met by telephone as well so that we could include those who could not make it to the party, either because of living out of town or scheduling conflicts. As we sat around the speakerphone, we heard a woman express her childhood shame around not having totally conquered her addictive behaviors…yet this was only her third call. The reality was that she had already demonstrated great courage and awareness, as well as having effected significant changes in her behavioral patterns…only she could not see that.

I heard a man bravely sing the song he had written that truly expressed his raw emotion around betrayal and true love. We were awed by his talent, his willingness to share this intimate part of his soul with us, and his obvious gift of writing and music. After we applauded in appreciation and shared how much we enjoyed his performance, we were taken by surprise by the next thing he said, “Thank you for your kind words, but I ought to be a lot better than I am by now.” We were stunned, as we thought he was incredibly talented.

“What do you mean?” we asked.

“I have been playing since I was thirteen. I ought to better,” he replied.

We all exchanged glances. It is so obvious when others are locking out the appreciation that is coming their way and so difficult to see it when we are doing it ourselves. Yet we all do this from time to time, and it literally often costs us our lives.  When we put ourselves down, when we blind ourselves to our talents, we often walk away from that which will truly provide satisfaction and passion in our lives.

Fortunately, this eClubSoda group cares about each other enough to lovingly point out when someone is hanging on tightly to an old outdated addictive mood. Our singer soon was able to hear his own talents reflected in our admiration, and we excitedly made plans for many more sing-a-longs with him at the helm for our future get-togethers.

And by observing our talented songwriter, our new member began to see that she truly had made remarkable and significant progress as well.

We often are not aware that we have deflected these kinds of acknowledgements. We can easily say things like, “Oh, this old thing...I’ve had it for years,” or “Thank you, but Susie is so much better...you should see her writing.” It comes disguised in many forms, and most of the time we turn away without ever recognizing we are doing so. That is the value of committed listeners that are willing to help you see what you have not yet learned to recognize by yourself.

How do you lock out the acknowledgements that come your way? Are you aware that you are doing this at the time? Are you willing to let in the good news? Are you willing to give up your familiar mood for one that is much more satisfying and rewarding?

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