It’s my new favorite acronym, and it stands for “Worrying About What Other People Think”.
WAWOPT is a special prison designed for those of us who are sensitive to others and their opinions, whether real or perceived, and it takes on a few different pseudonyms: “People Pleaser”, “Social Media Addict”, “Attention Seeker” or maybe just plain old “I Really Like it When People Are Nice to Me”.
The lure of achieving the approval of those around us is beyond sexy and seductive and can reach into our souls and control the way we act, the things we do or don’t do and will absolutely impact the dreams we pursue or don’t.
I have been reading the fabulous Ms. Rachel Hollis’ book Girl, Stop Apologizing, and, friends, may I say I have come to realize that I have more than a few decades of experience in the prison of WAWOPT. I can say all I want that I don’t care and don’t belong to the WAWOPT club, but the truth is, every now and then, I rise up with hope and open up, thinking that I can take anything from anyone and with one quick comment or lack of appreciation, am slapped quickly back into the reality that I really DO care. And because I do, it hurts.
So the other day, I got a lovely text from my mother, from whom I have not heard from with any substance for over a year, and it was to invite me to tune in to to their Memorial Talk on Zoom. Their Memorial is a religious celebration of great significance to them, and the only thing they really celebrate at all. I expect the invitation, and it does not offend me, but I was able to use the opportunity to ask how they were, given our current pandemic state of affairs and a serious lack of information about the family whom I love even though I am too “sinful” for them to associate with at this time.
I recently found out that my aunty had fought a brave fight with cancer over the past year and passed away last month. I hadn’t been notified of either, which made me realize with more than a bit of sadness that due to their reluctance to communicate with me, I would likely not be notified if someone got the dreaded COVID19 and died. I should mention also that I am someone that hates to be blindsided with information that I previously hadn’t known. So I mentioned that I was so happy to hear from them and asked that if it wasn’t too much trouble, if someone could let me know if anyone got sick, to please let me know.
I was happy to be able to inquire and receive information on some health issues my mother had, then thought that she would enjoy seeing where we are quarantined. She has not been to my home since 2014, and I have moved several times since then. But because our home is for sale and we had a nice video done for the realtor, I thought she would enjoy watching it. Now, for any of you readers who have not spent a day(s) – you know who you lovelies are – at my place, you should understand that I have a beautiful home, and we have worked hard to landscape it and decorate it in such a way that I KNOW would make my green thumbed, beauty-loving mama swoon.
About an hour after I sent it to her, she responded with “It’s a big one.”
It sounds so stupid but the lack of positive feedback slapped me across the face because I wanted more.
And for a moment I landed once again squarely on my rather round arse on the floor of the WAWOPT prison, thinking about how rude it was that she couldn’t say something NICE and I figuratively sucked my thumb while feeling sorry for myself about how my OWN MOTHER can’t even be nice to me (stroke my ego).
Oh my goodness you guys. When I was able to pick myself up and think objectively, I was embarrassed, and still am, that I am still so bothered by the lack of approval from someone from my past that has absolutely nothing to do with my life. But it also made me think about how many women that I know and love lock themselves into the same prison, and how disempowering it is.
I am not proficient in social media, but will have to be soon as I have to market my book. But I see all these gorgeous women – young and old – who actually can be levelled by the lack of perceived approval of friends, acquaintances, strangers and randoms based purely on the feedback or lack thereof on their media posts, and I am steeling myself for the feedback on my book that may not be as flattering as I want it to be. Oh the ego, lol!
So, I truthfully have been sitting with myself, and thinking about why I haven’t pulled the trigger on my book, telling my publishing rep to “Go”, and finish the editing and send it to press. The truth of it is that I have been languishing over in WAWOPT. So sad. But once you realize what it actually is that you are using as an excuse to not work towards your dreams, you can actually open the door of that prison and walk out.
I pulled that pin yesterday and signed the papers to finish the process…bombs away.
And I know that the ones who are on my team will celebrate with me. The ones who enjoyed me being contained in the prison will not. And that’s ok too.
So I submit to all of you, my readers, a la Ms. Rachel Hollis – what are you using as an excuse to hold you back and not work toward your biggest dream? Sit with it and be honest with yourself. Then pull the pin. Do something grand and remarkable. Do it for you. And guaranteed someone else will benefit or be inspired to also do something great.