The Surprisingly Forgivable, Spiritual, and Changeable Reason the Last Person On Your List Seems to Be You
You don't have to choose between yourself and another; taking a seat at your own sumptuous table feeds everyone.
There is an old story that comes out of the East:
Just before the launch of Humanity 1.0 (so to speak) the Gods sat around in Heaven discussing the issue of where to hide each human's soul. They didn't want to make the greatest gift too easy to find.
One said, "Why don't we hide it in an animal, like a deer? It is beautiful, and fleet - hard to catch."
But the others said, "No, that won't work at all, because they will eventually kill the deer to eat their meat, and the soul will be released and they will find it too easily."
Another one of the Gods spoke up. "Why don't we hide it in trees. They are sturdy and will last for eons and protect the soul well."
But the others said, "No, no, that won't work either. They will cut down the trees to make fire and to build shelter, and that also will be too easy an access."
The Gods pondered and pondered, bringing up suggestion after suggestion. For a short time - which for a God is still, of course, an eternity - they felt stumped.
Until one of them spoke up and said, "I know the perfect place. It is the one place that the human will never, ever look."
The other Gods were very excited. "Where? Where is this place? How have we not thought of it before? Where will the human never, ever look?"
And the God said, "Inside her own self."
Women often struggle with putting themselves on the list at all, much less coming last. The reasons run along the combined lines of (1) any skewed lessons learned in childhood plus (2) insistently and insultingly low social expectations which we tend to mirror, plus (3) any spiritual/religious messages about being "good" only when you come "last".
And that last one is the kicker, and the one we have to kick to the curb. But only once we understand a little more about it because the forgivable reason we tend to be so long to bring ourselves to the buffet table of life may be a spiritual one.
But what does an old story out of the East have to do with our tendency to not show up for ourselves in a myriad of ways?
Let me tell you another story.
Once upon a time there was a woman who pursued her goal in life with tremendous passion. She tried to the very best of her ability to reach her goal, sacrificing everything to it: her health, her money, her security.
She had learned society's lessons of "work hard to attain your dreams", and "go for the goal" and "never give up", so that even when she had given everything of personal worth to her pursuit, she did not give up.
When at last she found herself broken and out of answers, she was beaten. She released the dream in favor of saving her life...which is when she discovered that the one goal she had neglected to take into account was not a goal at all, but a life: her own.
You are a mystery and a human spirit and you are rather like a Christmas gift just waiting to be unwrapped. There is so much to distract you: work and family are big distractions, but that is not what keeps you distracted the most. Being a human doing, rather than a human being, keeps you on every treadmill, reaching for faraway goals...and away from your own precious moment-to-moment life, breath, essence, experience.
While there are of course many personal and societal reasons we pay no attention to our own needs there is a spiritual one as well: our true selves are given short shrift in this Go! Go! Go! world of external focus. But understanding can free you; understanding that the act of denying yourself does not actually make you a better person - is not in fact a spiritual pursuit at all. And understanding that by paying attention to yourself you are in fact playing and winning the game set up so long ago by life (or perhaps by those old Gods of the East), and opening up that long-ignored gift that rewards not only yourself, but everyone.
Now, at long last, you have a seat at your own sumptuous table.
Now that your own table is so rich, the overflow alone serves your whole world.
©2019 Lori Kirstein/Goodbye Good Girl Project LLC
Performance-Based Self-Expression Coach for Women Leaders
As featured in: