Are You on the Outside Looking In?

I look at this photo and see myself ... well a very young version of myself .... except I had red hair. OK, so I don't see me exactly in this picture, but there is a little girl inside of me that is very similar. We can all feel this way. Our noses pressed up against the window. Longing to be part of what is visible and yet never in reach. It can be anything really. A longing to be part of a group. A longing to be further in your career. A longing for acceptance. A longing to ... you fill in the blank. 

I am often amazed that I still struggle with this very thing at my age. I put on an air of confidence. I have to. I'm a performer. An actor with a mask. But do I always feel confident? No I don't. I'd be lying if I said I did. I get hurt by others like anyone else. I can feel left out. I can feel like I don't belong. I'm not part of the clique. I'm on the outside, looking in. 

If I'm truthful to myself, it has always been that way. I don't remember being the popular girl in school. I always felt on the outside. I'll bump into old friends from high school and their opinion of me is the exact opposite. It's funny how we see ourselves compared to how others see us. It hasn't changed all that much as an adult. We all deal with bullies. Petty jealousies. Cliques. The school yard has changed its venue that's all.

So what to do about it? Do we continue to look through the glass with longing? Hoping for an invitation to the party? There is one thing I've learned over the years. Sometimes the door you're knocking on doesn't get answered. Persistence is good and then you say You know what? I'm going to look for another door! 

This is not easy to do. There are times when we want to give up. Why do I bother? Why do I keep trying? I don't belong here. The old voices that you've silenced in the past replay themselves in a loop. A choir of negativity belting out its top 10 Hit List. It is during these critical times that we must have a talk with ourselves. I imagine myself pulling up my socks. I tell myself to get up and get at it, even when I don't want to. Its not easy.

I received this note in the last couple of days and it rang true to me. 

There will always be people in your life who hold you back, who cost you too much, and who fail to see who you are. But, of course, they're there to teach you that you do have time, and that your own high standards are all that matter.

and then the next day I received ...

Sometimes knocking on one door forces another to open. A door that never would have opened otherwise. Often, the first door you knocked on wasn't even that appealing. It was just better than waiting around for a good door to appear. Whereas the one that opened was a door you never even knew existed

So, my challenge to you if you're feeling stuck, or on the outside looking in is this - forget the freakin' window! Grab your little girl's hand (or boy) and walk down the block and find another window - because the door sitting beside the window may just be open and welcoming. Never give up, but be flexible.