Wednesday, November 3, 2010
the internal compass is a funny thing, isn't it?
up until maybe a year and a half ago, mine was pointing due north. i had no question about where my life was going: i had a great job at a magazine, even greater friends, and my life seemed pretty much on track. sure, i had some credit card and school debt, and i occasionally wondered where i'd be in 10 or 15 years (here in florida? somewhere else?), but those questions were few and far between.
then i lost my job, and with it i lost a lot of my surety. the questions were less "where will i be in 10 years?" and more "where will i be in six months?" that old internal compass -- the one that had been so steadfast up until that point -- was in freefall, personally and professionally, and i feel like i've never quite been able to get it back to where it was, in spite of a new job and my wonderful, supportive family and friends.
with this off-kilter compass has come a particularly thin skin. i'm an emotional person who has always placed far too much trust in others; this is a well-known and self-admitted fact. even so, it's also one i value because i feel it lends me a great deal of empathy for others (your best quality is always your worst quality, too, right?). but i feel like my self-doubt has exacerbated these qualities, to the point where i've willfully ignored warning signs and insisted on placing a great deal of trust in people i really shouldn't -- and then felt completely crushed when that misplaced trust circled back around to gnaw at me and my feelings.
i know that sounds very dramatic, and the reality is that the things i'm talking about wouldn't even be a blip on many people's radars. but i don't think that makes them any less important, either. so my question to you, dear readers -- and it goes along with this week's commitment to stand up for myself -- is how do you grow a thicker skin without compromising the best parts of yourself, without becoming totally jaded?
photo by erika svensson