I went to the beach the other day. A while ago I found a secluded area and that is where I was heading. We had clear, blue skies, but it was a bit cool and windy. I climbed down to my favorite spot.
I was thrilled to find that no one else was there.
The steep cliffs by the water broke some of the ragged, chilly wind coming off the water and it actually felt warm.
I took a deep breath and allowed that euphoric, exhilarating, mystical feeling of being at the ocean wash over me. The warm sun and the breeze felt so good. I began to relax.
I spread my towel, took off my shorts and sat down, giving thanks for this blessing. There wasn’t a soul for about a third of a mile in either direction.
A few moments later I noticed a man coming down the cliffs. He was trying to catch my attention. As a matter of fact, a quick glimpse affirmed that he was staring at me. I felt invaded and poignantly looked away, hoping he’d move on.
He put his towel down, no more than 20 feet away from me, and proceeded to take off ALL his clothes, making sure he was turned toward me.
I cringed, my whole body tightened, my peaceful retreat ruined. Annoyance and a little bit of fear crept in. Angry conversations…..all in my head: ”Why does he have to sit right here when there is all this space. Why does he keep staring at me, when I clearly want to be left alone? What kind of weirdo is this?”
Definitely uptight now, I kept reading the book I pulled out, determined to ignore him. I sat very still, barely breathing. I only shifted my position as he walked toward the water. I didn’t want to give him any additional reasons to watch me.
Being not too aware sometimes……I hate to admit this…..I finally questioned why I was doing this to myself. Why was I letting another person twist me all up inside and ruin my peace? Why was I still sitting here?
Social Psychologists tell us that we want to be liked and behave in ways to ensure positive feedback from others.
I started to wonder how often we do these things in life? Is it human nature to put up with this internal conflict or is it something we learned to do?
Were we taught by well-meaning adults who didn’t know any better themselves?
How many times a day do we allow others to make us feel sick, uneasy, confused and uptight? Why do we not walk away or say something when confronted with things that feel wrong?
We can all relate to stories where alarm bells go off internally, but we continue to play the “let’s not offend” game, even in the face of danger.
We’d rather abuse ourselves than take a stand for ourselves?
I think we have been conditioned to make nice, not to offend. We have become accustomed to that uncomfortable feeling within our bodies. We have forgotten how it feels to be in integrity with ourselves.
What would it look like if you could be honest with yourself?
Simply be in your body, feel what you feel and honor that. Just imagine what a sane world we would live in.……..