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Today is my step-daughter’s 10th birthday. Not that it’s relevant to anyone reading this post. But it’s relevant to us, despite the fact that we have not seen her over a year. Her mother is a parental alienator, and no amount of legal assistance or court intervention has been successful in changing that. But that’s not what this post is about either. It’s about relevance.

I spent most of my life not believing I was relevant. No need to delve into the historical or psychological reasons for that. I simply didn’t think that I mattered – in the classroom, in the house, in piano lessons, really anywhere. I know now that isn’t true. But it carried to my adult life in spite of my intellect telling me I indeed matter, and those in my life not having a clue that this is how I felt.

Back-of-the-room wallflower in most group situations, an introvert and a listener, or perhaps a mind-wanderer wondering if I fit in with the others in the room, I got brave one day, in my 40s no less, and put my yoga mat in the front of the room at a yoga conference. I wanted to be near the teacher, he was one of my favorite gurus, who I felt at the time was God-like. Of course he wasn’t, but he was relevant to me.

During one of the question-answer periods in the all-day session I actually raised my hand and asked a question. I don’t even remember what it was, but the act itself for me was huge. He chatted with me directly in a room of a hundred people, even said that I offered great insight. Other people approached me afterward and thanked me. I was relevant.

We all have aspects of ourselves that rule our psyches, even if we don’t show it to the world. I am married to an amazing man who in spite of his successes in life, feels quite the same about his own relevance. No matter what we do – or don’t do – when we are participating in daily life, we are relevant. But how do we learn to believe it?

Of course, like with all emotional evolvement, it’s an inside job. But feeling valued, needed, accepted, loved, worthy, even accomplished from our external world is significant for humans. And when we don’t have it, or worse, when our relevance is removed from those who matter in our lives, it’s hard.

As much as I believe that my step-daughter’s isolation from her father and step-family is due to her mother’s emotional incapacities, I don’t believe that her mother is irrelevant in her life and should be removed from it, the way she has removed us. I don’t believe that anyone is irrelevant in the world.

Happy Birthday sweet girl. You matter. And so do we.

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