I just called to see how I was doing

Jack and Lu

Jack and Luke standing in the middle of the frozen Hudson river yesterday

For years, if I didn’t hear from someone who I’d been close to, I would think that I’d done something wrong. Usually the scenario in my head would run like this, “I haven’t heard from ___ in a couple of weeks (or months), I wonder what is up with them? Are they OK? Are they sick? Are they mad at me for some reason? Have I done something wrong?”

Then my mind would begin to search for the trouble. I’d wish that they would call or write so I could feel better and if they didn’t, I’d either get more upset with myself, I’d try to forget them, thinking something like, “I don’t know what is up with them, but it is obviously their problem” or I’d call them and say, “I just called to see how you were doing.”

The truer statement should have been, “I just called to see how I was doing. If you’re upset with me then I am not doing well or you are an idiot or I am very sorry for being the inadequate being that I am. How can I make this up to you? On the other hand, If you aren’t upset with me, and you are happy to hear from me, then I am doing well.”

It took me forever to realize that the gift was not in letting them go, or digging further into myself to find out how inadequate I was and then trying diligently and humbly to correct myself. The gift was that every time this scenario played and I began to feel bad, I had the huge opportunity to see myself clearly and change a belief. This scenario was telling me that I fundamentally believed that there was something wrong with me. This was “my problem”. My belief about myself was the problem and the “other” was just a mirror. Whatever I thought they were thinking, was what I was thinking about myself and so it did no good to dismiss them, search myself for more inadequacies, or try to be a better friend to them.

I saw that I was unfriendly toward myself. My thoughts about myself were mean and cruel and critical. No person could change this but me. I started to feel genuine gratitude for all of those people who didn’t call or write but who held up the mirror of myself for me to see a hidden belief and to change it. It also became clear that if I didn’t change then I would constantly be looking outward to others trying desperately to affirm my worth while holding fast to the belief in my basic unworthiness.

We’ve all gotten the desperate-feeling phone calls or emails in which the caller is trying to mask their insecurity by seemingly being concerned about us or casually friendly. Yuk. I don’t appreciate it when it is done to me so I have to assume that others feel the same. It is dishonest. We know it and so do others. We’d be better off to admit our insecurity and say, “I’m just calling to see how I am doing” …and then we could both have a good laugh. But even better, I could see that I am feeling bad, thank god that I see it, and thank the other person (in my mind) for not calling or writing so I have the gentle and sweet opportunity to change my beliefs in the comfort of my own mind.

I am a divine being. You are a divine being. I believe that it is time to start believing this.

 

 

15 thoughts on “I just called to see how I was doing

  1. Oh, my—you just took me back about 45 years! As i read this post, my brain was singing the song by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition: ♪ “I just dropped in, to see what condition my condition was in”….♪♪ Another very astute observation, Mary.

  2. Hmmmm…I used to think/behave like this…but I don’t any more. Through you and Abraham I learned that when my ‘mood’ was dependent upon someone else’s behavior then I was focusing externally and not on my own inner being. That was an aha moment for me…because 1) I can’t control another’s behavior anyway and 2) they don’t care about my happiness as much as I do (or as much as I should). So I stopped keeping ‘score’. It doesn’t matter to me who called who last, or who emailed who last, or who texted who last…or who invited who out last…it just doesn’t matter…because life takes us all to busy and unexpected places all the time. And I mean that in a good way! It feels uncomfortable to me now to even think that I ‘owe’ someone a call, or that someone ‘owes’ me an email, or that someone owes me a dinner invitation. There is no debt in friendship. I just go with my gut and when it hits me that I haven’t connected with someone I care about, when I feel a quick emptiness and a realization that I miss them, then I can choose to do something about it…I believe in the Law of Attraction…I think it gets down to trust in ourselves and trust in our relationships…I’d rather pick up the phone and say “hey, I miss you”, than take the time to weave make believe stories about why we haven’t connected…which I can be very good at too! Almost 64 and always learning… 🙂

    • That sounds like a great place to be, Kathye. I wish I could say I was there too, but I still am working/walking this out. Once in a while, when I find these old patterns of self criticism and negative thoughts resurfacing I will comfort myself with the thought that even the great Jean Houston once said that she still really cared about what people thought of her and felt it deeply. She called herself the world oldest baby (or something like that). I identified!
      Much love to you, Mary

    • Well I just love that you took the time to tell me, Susan.Thank you. When I write I always hope it is helpful to others while knowing at the same time that it is something that I needed to be reminded of that day. We’re all in this together, aren’t we?! Love, Mary

  3. Boy, did I need to hear this today! I am sometimes blown away at how profusely critical I am of myself….always checking to see if I’m doing the right thing, saying the right thing, making others happy, being a good person, blah, blah, blah. Your post really hit me (in a good way). At my core, when I believe (remember) that I am a divine being, I stop all that self critical nonsense. Thank you Mary. Your posts always hit home. I needed this more than you know.

    • Me too, Debra…sometimes I think, “Wow, I’ve finally moved past that self-critical talk!” and then something happens and I find I still am thinking really unkind thoughts about myself (and others) and my only “consolation” in the moment is that at least I’m noticing it! Much love to you today, Mary

  4. uffff, your words were the proverbial head shake that l needed today , Mary. Thank you for always digging deep and looking ‘at the other side of the mirror’. I am going to sit up straight and stop feeling bad about something that l have no control over, right now!
    Great photo, by the way 🙂

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