I have never had to put effort into making friends. I have lived in Portland most of my life with a large family and community. So here in Iceland I am starting fresh and learning through this new experience. I have been watching myself create friendships, network and hope that people like me. This has been the strange part. This hoping that people like me. It has got me thinking about how much we/I rely on others approval for our own self-worth.
I have always gotten a lot of external self-esteem building, especially being in the Samarya community and being in America where people generally express their emotions. (well, more than in Iceland). In Iceland I wonder if people like me, if they are just being polite when they invite me to things. At the end of the day, I often reflect on my day based on how many people I connected with, and if they seemed to enjoy my presence.
At first I felt a little bad about this, feeling like I "should" be happy on my own and happy even if people don't give me back positive feedback. And then I remembered that relationships and connecting to people is important, and especially important to me. By accepting this part of me, I have freedom to direct my attention towards building relationships in this new land.
I know that my self-worth is not created by others approval of me. When I can connect with the Self that knows I am perfect just as I am, I can live more fluidly, not putting pressure on existing relationships or myself. I was reminded of this when reading something our dear teacher Molly Lannon Kenny said at the Yoga and Social Change workshop.
"Get right and super-real with yourself first. Drop your agenda. Drop your assumptions. Just be. Trust that, trust yourself. Your gift is your presence. If you really cultivate that, you will not only be giving that gift to the people with whom you share [your yoga], but also to yourself, which is really ultimately all that matters, and all we can ever really control or change. Trust that.
As often the case, when listening to Molly, I get a sense of relief, because I am reminded that I don't have to try too hard. And that all I need to be is me and the rest is up to the universe or God or whatever yo . I can just live and be myself and some will be drawn to me and others won't and that is completely okay. I am now practicing showing up to new social and professional gatherings without any expectations and trusting that my presence will bring light to others. I hope you know you are perfect just as you are and that there is a practice and community at unfold to support that.
Written by teachers at unfold studios and guest authors.