What is the matter? Do I matter? It’s a matter of opinion. Mind over matter. A matter of life or death. For that matter. It’s a matter of importance. The crux of the matter. No laughing matter. A matter of how you slice it…..and the list goes on and on.
How do we decide what matters? How do we decide who matters to us? Why do we hurt the ones that matter? (Okay, I cribbed that from those we love)
Matter as a noun is a physical substance in general, as a distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as a distance from energy. It is an affair or situation under consideration; a topic. As a verb, it means to be of importance, have significance.
When I was 8 years old, it mattered what my favorite singer said and wore and expressed opinions about. Taylor Swift
Does it matter who we matter to? How does that effect our day to day life? How does it affect our being happy or sad? Why does it matter who likes our Instagram pictures? Why does it matter if we don’t get a text back? Who says that the things that matter the most are what we share on Facebook? Why does it matter if someone won’t add us on Snapchat? These all seem like petty things to matter to people, but they do. Maybe not to everyone, but to some it does matter.
As I said, the phrase “I matter to those whose lives I touch” has been a big in my head this week. Today it backfired on me a bit. Well, maybe more than a bit. In trying to keep the saying in my head, I snapped at someone who matters to me. I didn’t mean to, and I did apologize, but still, it was wrong of me.
When it comes to people who matter to me, I end up putting my foot in a giant pile of shit a lot of the time. I don’t mean to do it, it just happens and then all those automatic thoughts of being worthless and not mattering to others come flooding back. More often than I care to admit, I give my value in the lives of those that matter to me more than I should. And that makes me feel awful when I stop and realize that I’m not the center of anyone’s universe except my own and possibly my dog Coco’s (I’m the one who feeds her and takes her to the dog park). The truth is the people I care about are too busy with their own lives to worry 24/7 about me. That’s my job. I can’t help it if I worry about people. It’s in my nature. I don’t want to totally give that up. The happiness and safety of the people who matter to me are important to me and it’s what makes me…me. I do need to understand though that’s its okay to not be front and foremost on the minds of the people that matter to me.
Social media fucks with people’s minds when it comes to what matters. You can post a picture on Instagram of something you know someone that matters to you would like and when they don’t respond with a like/heart then you feel like … or rather I feel like a loser …or as I’m supposed to say that I feel like I don’t matter. When you post something interesting on FB and no one notices it, you feel like you don’t matter to anyone who follows you. When I post here what I think is an interesting blog post and no one “likes” or comments on it, you feel like why am I bothering posting things here that matter to me if no one reads them.
I tried giving up social media because of the feeling I get when things that matter got no response. But I looked back. So what if some people didn’t like it or read it or respond to it. Some people I didn’t expect did like and makes comments that led me to look at other sites and other things I didn’t know I’d find interesting.
I picked the image above because of what it says.
“You are enough” I struggle with that in all phases of my life. Am I enough as a parent? Am I enough as a wife? As a friend? As a teacher? My knee-jerk reaction is always no. I am lacking in some part of my life. I am learning to know that I am enough. I know that I make a difference to the people whose lives I touch. I make a difference to my students. I want THEM to never think they don’t matter to anyone. I impart that to my children. No matter if I am angry with you, I love you and you matter.
“You have influence” I like to think that in some way, a small way I am having influence in someone’s life. I see the influence I have on my children every day. They are the two most amazing things I will ever have accomplished in my life. I see the influence I have on my students when I tell them I am proud to be a Geek and there is nothing wrong with being excited about the things you love.
“You are a Genius” Author Seth Godin says a genius is a person who can solve a problem in a way that no one else has solved it before. So in terms of my body and what it can do, I finally figured it out. I have lost close to 75 pounds. I am stronger and healthier and have learned how to do it the right way and the smart way. (With a little help from people to keep me going.)
“You Have a Contribution to Make” “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa. The size of the contribution isn’t what matters, it what part of my heart I put into it.
“You Have a Gift to Give that Others Need” “Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha). It is said that happiness and love are the two greatest gifts we can give the world. But more often than not, we are wrapped up in our own gratifications and forget that there are people in the world that we can make feel loved, appreciated, or even just noticed. These are not gifts that we need to buy. A smile. A hug.
“You are the change.” A shared smile, an unexpected kindness, the small encounters with people that show us that we matter. That our presence is important. Leaving people with something positive; it is these things, no matter how small, we choose to matter and in doing that, we are making the world a better place.
“Your Actions Define Your Impact” “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank. If action is the world’s greatest currency, then there is no better day or time than now and today to start to make a difference in your world. It’s not about waiting until you have the time. It’s not about waiting until you have money. To let someone know that you matter, just tell them. “Hey, you matter.” That will take all of two seconds. If you are reading this, you matter to me.
“You Matter!” To be of consequence or importance to others is what it means to matter. It means that I am worthy of note and have crucial value. It means you are significant and relevant. My world doesn’t always tell me this and my friends and family may not always communicate it in a way that I can understand and see that I am important in their lives, but that doesn’t mean that what I do and who I don’t have a profound impact on the world.
One of the things I talked about in therapy this week was being able to say out loud that I mattered. To say it out loud and MEAN it too. That was harder. The first few times I said it, it came out like a question. I was questioning do I matter? That comes down to one of the roots of what I’m talking about in therapy. Do I matter? Who do I matter to?
You can do a Google search on the subject and you’ll come up with quotes by the dozen – not unlike the one I posted above – that say if you matter to someone, they’ll make time for you. That’s a heavy, heavy comment to hold over someone’s head. How do you know if you matter to someone? Is it because you talk to them all the time? Is it because they tell you that you matter to theHow do they show that you matter? Is it with a hug? Is it with a smile? Is it with a text or an email or a letter? I don’t have the answer to that. I’m struggling with that right now. Some people are amazingly lucky and can give you an answer off the tip of their tongue. They know why they matter. They have no doubts in their minds. Me, I have many doubts…hence therapy.
One expression I did come up and was able to say with conviction (eventually) is that I matter to the people who’s lives I touch. I can’t say that with a thundering conviction, I can just say it. But how do I know that I matter? That’s the sentence running in my head now. And that brings me back to my other questions…do we show someone they matter to us with words or with actions? Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Sometimes actions speak louder than words and then you have to stop and think, if they matter to me and their actions show that I don’t matter to them, do I stop letting them matter to me? Can I be that person? No, I don’t think I can.
This therapy stuff can really make you think and think too much sometimes. We refer to the issues I’m dealing with a lake. Some stuff I may want to dive right into – which I am now – and some we may have to take little steps along the shoreline. I was journalling some stuff and apparently what I was doing was stating the issue. I was identifying the issue, but not dealing with the core/root of it. And we started doing that. For someone like me to say with conviction that I matter and I deserve help was an extremely hard thing to do. I will praise you, I will shore you up when you are down, I will go to the ends of the earth to help you with whatever you need. But for me to believe I matter and I deserve help was not an easy thing.
I am learning how to trust again. I lost that ability. I am very guarded and jaded now. I appreciate people who have been there for me no matter what degree it has been. I just hope that my saying and believing that I matter to the people whose lives I touch isn’t going to come back and hurt me.
…..with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.” ~Lemony Snicket
That word has been flashing in my head for the past week. Not that I’m a big believer in fate and karma and religion. I don’t believe there is a God, a single entity that is up on a throne of clouds and is judging us and deciding what will happen to us. I often kid that recently karma has made me her bitch big time. Things have been coming back to bite me in the ass all over the place. But fate, well that word has been like a neon sign flashing on a dingy street in my mind lately.
Fate. Is it the road we should have taken. Is it the Hello to a stranger we should have made when walking by. Is fate realizing a mistake and trying to change it, but not knowing how. Does fate bring people and places and experiences into our lives for a good reason or a bad reason?
Fate is the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power. It is something destined to happen, turn out to be, or meant to be. But can we consciously change the route fate points us on?
I’m not siting personal things that has me on this fate trip right now. It’s more of a topic in what I’m writing. The path that the protagonist takes, is it fate or can he change the track he’s taking? And since I’m a massive Over-Thinker (I believe my card to the group is coming in the mail) it made me think of some of my choices in life that have turned out for the better and for the worse. That brought me to the statement people make of “If I only knew then what I know now.” If I could go back to that 20 something person I was and make changes and avoid the bad choices in life, would I have? How would it have changed who I am now? Would I have been a stronger person? Would I have been more outgoing, have a more positive outlook on life? Would I still have the stories to tell and encourage others to not make the same mistakes and put themselves first?
Hi, how have you been?
I’ve been trying to talk to you, but I don’t know where to start.
Do I just open my mouth up and blurt it all out? Will you look at me like I’ve lost my mind?
Well, to be honest, yes, yes I have. I’ve been broken into a million pieces and I’m beginning to put them back together. My pieces are small and fragile. Once, they were bigger pieces and while I was busy gluing myself back together, someone came along and ground the big pieces into smaller ones.
I stood there helpless and not sure how to put myself back together. For a long time, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to put the pieces back in place. Some had been crushed into dust. There were many holes where I had to find new pieces to go into. It took time. It’s still going on. I stand here today, not completely back together and not perfect and shiny smooth. There are cracks and chips from lessons learned and scars that are trying to heal. Sometimes the scars became rough because I let them get opened again and again, not learning that they needed to heal so I can move on.
Why am I telling you this? Well, you were one of the pieces I found on the ground that had been broken off. No…please don’t get upset. You didn’t mean to cause the break, I let you cause it. There was a crack there already and you just managed to make the crack bigger and bigger until it fell off. You didn’t know it fell, and I kept silent. Because I kept silent, you stepped on that piece and shattered it even more. Now I have a hole where you used to be and I need to fill that part of my soul. I know you aren’t to blame, you didn’t know you even crushed that piece. I overthink things and may have left that part where it was because I was scared of what it meant and by leaving it be, I neglected the simple truth of what it represented.
What did it represent? It represented that the crack was supposed to be caused by you so that I could learn from the lesson it taught me. I had to learn that I am a strong person who doesn’t need to lean on anyone. I put too much faith into other’s and what they thought of me. Was I strong enough? Am I good enough? I let many into the little cracks of my soul until they helped to shatter it. I stood for a long time looking down at the pieces strewn on the floor and cried until the tears mixed with the dust and washed it away. I was left with pieces of me that needed to go back together. But could I put them together the way they were before? Would the crack continue to show with all that my tears washed away? No, they had to be filled with something stronger and in a different way. I’m writing this to you to thank you for making the cracks happen so that I could find a way to become stronger.
This was inspired by the picture below.
Many times I’ve been alone
And many times I’ve cried
Any way you’ll never know
The many ways I’ve tried
Stealing again from the Beatles today. Not so much about the long and winding road that I’m traveling. That is part of it, bu the section I quoted above…”many times I”ve been alone.” Alone. Alone seems to be a theme for me right now. Mostly because I feel I’m traveling this road alone. I mean I know I’m truly not, but it feels like that.
Let me explain a bit further. This road is meant for me to travel alone. No one can clear the thoughts in my head or the depression from my soul but me. As I travel down this long and winding road, I may see a friendly Diner and decide to pop in for some coffee and pie. I see the Diner as a metaphor for people who offer me the chance to talk to them and let me have someone to confide in. But I can’t stay in the Diner and talk to the waitress forever. She has her own life and other customers to help out.
So off I go again, alone, down my long and winding road. Maybe I’ll see a quaint roadside stand selling tchotchkes. I see those as the many books and sites and things I may try to help me out. Some of those tchotchkes will help me out, but I will go through a lot of crap before I find the one(s) that really help me out.
I continue down my road and I see an accident. I panic. The accident is when I have my setbacks and I let my automatic thoughts and negative thinking (depression and anxiety in general) come roaring back. The accident victim is me and the instigator is the Depression Devil. I may get stuck at this accident scene for a little while. There is a lot of rubber necking going on – me over thinking and worrying and letting it all come roaring back. But eventually, the things I’ve learned (am learning) will help me move on past this accident and through the congestion to continue on my road.
I can’t expect anyone to tag along as my co-pilot because, honestly, who wants to call out “shot gun” for a road trip like this? No one I know. Asking people who say they love you to ride shotgun on a trip like this is asking too much. It is for me anyways. More often than not I have placed too high of a value on my place in their life, forgetting they have lives of their own to live. I respect that and now can understand that.