My Friend Request

I wrote this as a follow up to this Facebook post.

People have talked shit about me my whole life.

In high school, walking through the halls, I was called a slut. I couldn’t go to parties because I was afraid I would be beaten up by the girls who turned on me when I started to get sexy.

Did I sleep with some guys? Yes, I did. Looking for love in all the wrong places and all that. But did I deserve to be outcast? I don’t think so.

It hurt, but I was kind of used to it because my parents (to say it kindly) “stood out” among the wealthy Jewish families in the community we lived in. So before there was anything to say about me personally, I always felt people talking about my family.

In a way, I’ve been in training to be talked about my whole life.

It’s part of the reason I am able to live my life so openly today.

Mixergy founder Andrew Warner called me the “most shockingly open entrepreneur on the whole freakin’ site” after our interview.

Why? Because I choose to live free. And it’s my dharma.

A few years ago, I asked myself what I could be best in the world at and the answer was “being fully and totally, no holds-barred me.”

So little by little, day by day, since then I have been doing and being that. More and more.

In service to what?

In service to giving you permission to be more of yourself, out loud. 

It’s really at the core of all my work in the world. You being more fully you, whatever that looks like. I’m a yes to it.

And knowing you can be this more fully you, out loud, without shame and beyond fear.

So I choose to lead the way.

And as a result, people talk shit about me.

I think the fear of people talking about us is one of the greatest impediments to full expression.

I don’t fear it anymore. I accept it. But there is one part I still have a hard time with.

A few years ago when I first embarked upon this journey of full self expression and I got negative feedback, I withdrew.

It was too much like high school. I felt scared. I felt lonely. I felt wrong.

Then, I noticed that my withdrawal created more pain inside me than the negative feedback did and I asked myself if I was willing for it to happen in service to something greater than my little self. I asked myself if I could grow bigger and receive it. I asked myself if it was my purpose to do so.

The answer was yes.

So I set about to create a strength in myself and around me that would allow me to receive the criticism with an open heart.

I researched people I felt were fully self expressed and read the negative things people wrote about them. I gained strength from seeing their continued self expression in the face of it all.

I sought out and found friends and community who would accept all of me, totally.

I did the internal work to clear out my own inner shame and judgment.

I looked at anywhere I didn’t believe in my work and made it awesome and gathered the success stories to back it up so that I could refer to them if I ever began to doubt myself again in the face of other people’s judgment.

Today, I welcome people writing about me and talking about me.

I have changed my perspective from “there’s something bad happening here” to “I’m making an impact and this comes with the territory.”

I’m good with it all. Welcome it all. Have the resources to handle it all.

There’s still one little piece though that is like a knife in my heart.

When I discover that people I considered friends aren’t truly behaving in ways I consider to be up to my standards of friendship.

Too reminiscent of the girls in high school who so brutally betrayed me, I guess.

And I recognize this is mine to work through and eliminate from my own consciousness. When I fully heal it inside, it will disappear from my outside.

For now though, it still hurts.

So if you are truly a friend, I invite you to live by these “rules” for a new world, at least with me and ideally with anyone you consider a friend:

  • Seek to understand rather than judge.

  • If you have something to say about something I do or say, say it to me directly rather than gossiping about it behind my back.

  • If you aren’t a friend, don’t pretend you are. Just be direct with what’s true.

I understand now that I have probably let in too many people who I thought were friends when they really weren’t.

In the past, I’ve been the kind of gal who assumed you were my friend if we had met in person and connected eye to eye and heart to heart.

Recently though, I’ve discovered that’s not true.

Someone I thought was a friend (and who I let in deep) told me, after she had done some things I consider really mean that, she wasn’t actually my friend. I was a role model she said, put on a pedestal and she had always kept her distance.

She used that to justify what I consider to be bad human behavior. But worst of all, I had considered her a friend.

I don’t want to be jaded. I want to keep my heart open and I want to understand more about this thing called friendship.