Searching for the Stars

The Inspired Life

Note: This is the second part of the Sneetches video from Monday’s post Wanting to Belong and this post follows up on the thoughts and comments from that post. If you missed that, you may want to start there and come back after. We will wait right here for you. 🙂

 

I have always loved the story of the Sneetches. As a child it was my very favorite story. Silly, silly Sneetches thinking that a star on or off of their belly would make them more popular or fit in with the crowd or get them invited to marshmallow roasts. When my mother would read the story to me at night as I lay all cuddled in bed, I would laugh and giggle and snicker at those foolish yellow goofs. I never in my wildest imagination believed that real life human beings would actually treat each other the way Sneetches did.

Then I went to this bizarre place called school. And met human Sneetches. The higher up the grades I went, the more Sneetches I found and the more puzzled I became. Instead of stars it was labels. In order to fit in there had to be the right person’s name scrawled across the butt of the jeans I wore or I was an OUT Sneetch. After awhile I couldn’t keep up with all the different rules of what was in and out and who was in or out and what was up or down or YIKES!! It was too exhausting and I felt like Mc Bean had a machine that the entire school world was running in and out of while I stood on the sidelines not even knowing how to play.

Not even wanting to.

In Junior High, I didn’t fit in so much that I used to take my lunch off the lunch line and go out of the lunch room, down the hall and go eat with the isolated ( back then) mentally and physically handicapped kids in the other wing of the building. They weren’t Sneetches. They had no social rules except be nice and get along. I knew how to do that so that’s where I ate my lunch. We would play Tic Tac Toe and checkers and I could just relax and have fun and not worry if I was *doing IT right or wrong* or being embarrassing or popular or anything at all.

By high school I started to get a little angry at the sneetches but I was lonely too. I did want to belong. I didn’t like being the lone ranger all the time. So for a short time I tried to play by their rules. I tried to walk the walk, talk the talk, dress the dress. I was miserable. I felt fake and foolish and like a fraud. Like any moment they were going to be able to look under the hood and see that I wasn’t really one of them and kick me out. I just didn’t have the stomach for it and I couldn’t stand the exclusion of others. I wanted the world to be a big place where everyone was welcome and we could all get along. I decided that hanging out with the popular gang wasn’t what I wanted after all. I went back to being the lone ranger.

I really believed that when I left school I would leave the world of Sneetches behind as well. That this was a school-age problem that I could dust off my feet and never deal with again.

No such luck. Life has a way of circling back all of your issues over and over again in different packaging until you figure it out. The lesson of Sneetches wasn’t going anywhere and would haunt me for years until I quit running from it and faced it down.

I struggled for a long time. Wanting to be liked, wanting approval. Bending myself backward, inside out and doing things I didn’t even really like just to be part of a social group, and at times a work group. I found myself striving for approval from a particular person who barely even noticed my achievements. I could have stood on a building with a flag and waved them at this person. They would have gone unnoticed but that only spurred me on to try harder, do more. To no avail. Why? After a long while, It dawned on my one day, I didn’t even really respect or care about this person so much after all this time. It had just become a senseless craving. As silly as on again off again stars. Who was I doing it all for?

I stopped.

It isn’t wrong to want to belong. It isn’t wrong to want to be part of something bigger than yourself and have the approval, communion and companionship of society and people. I don’t believe we as humans were intended to be here as isolated creatures. We are more like pack animals. We hang in groups. That’s OK.

Where I was running into trouble over and over in my life was in the choices I was making about WHO I was choosing to want to belong with. About WHO  and WHERE I allowed my self worth to come from. Because I hadn’t FIRST taken the time to examine my own wants, my own needs, my own priorities, my own beliefs, core values…then I was left no choice but to be a follower of other peoples choices and their belief system. I was blown around like a leaf in the wind. Or a Sneetch with on again off again stars so long I couldn’t even remember what I was doing it for.

When your map is clear the journey is easy. When your core values are set and you know your mission and purpose, the people and things that you need to have on that journey will be there with you. You WILL belong because you will BE in your own element. You will be home and comfortable in your own skin and space and others who also belong-will be belonging with you.

The need to fill up your life with material possessions and false promises from the Fix it Chappy Mc Beans of life will evaporate when you have the confidence and assurance of knowing your core values, path and goals are clear. The Mc Beans’ prey on a world adrift, lost and frightened looking for any safety net in the storm. You don’t have to be a part of that.

My kids gave me a stuffed animal for Christmas last year. A big, bright yellow Star-bellied Sneetch. He sits on my dresser now in my room greeting me each morning when I wake up. A reminder that core values keep my path straight and out of the way of Sneetch following.

My mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone I know and meet. To help others and impact positive change. When that guides my steps I know I’m on the right path and with the right group of people.

That’s my bright star I search for when deciding what to do, who to be with or where to cut things out. How is it affecting positive change? Am I helping? Am I inspiring others to be their best? Am I making a difference? Is this valuable?

What about you? How do you decide? How do you determine when you should spend the energy (or money even) to belong or walk away?

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Searching for the Stars

  1. Now that was fun to watch. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Hugs and Blessings.

  2. Human Beings are relational creatures. We come together instinctively. However,
    sometimes without the freedom to express who we truly are, can bring hostility,
    misunderstandings, fear based reactions from others in a group setting. The choice is clear that we “herd” based on like mindedness and shared experiences.

    Recently I found myself withdrawing from a group of “elders” who met over coffee cups and chatter. They were and continue to be good folks. However, I was never meant to be a member of this Grouping. My lifestyle, political bend, experiences, spiritual path, etc. – all foreign to them. Fear of contaminating their group of like minded people, finally came to a head a few weeks back.

    I was thrust out into the world, once more traveling solo. However, I found that in Not Belonging, I was have become free of restrictions, free of the expectations, free to creatively explore . Being who I was created To Be.
    My imagination, writings, true personality have blossomed without the guilt that often latently lay behind the veiled threat of failure and disappointment from the Group Members. In the future, it is a hope that like-minded folks will enter my life and time to time, I may “pull up a rock in the forest” and share with them the intricies of my life journey and their own. Till then,
    this is a secure, safe “forest”, created by Wendikins, where I may rest, and share time to time, the things of my heart.
    Ms. O

  3. Ms O,
    You are always welcime to share freely anything you desire here. Free from all judgement, we have an open door policy-people are free to believe what they believe here, as long as we respect each other. I value all opinions as an opportunity to learn, share and grow. 🙂 I adore all that you bring here.

    MJ..Glad you enjoyed the Sneetches! Glad you come and visit!

  4. Wendi,

    Ah, the Sneetches. I learned more form them and from The Lorax than from anything I ever read in school. Seuss is one of my heroes.

    I loved both of these articles. You got me right here: “It dawned on my one day, I didn’t even really respect or care about this person so much after all this time. It had just become a senseless craving.”

    I’ve been in that position, Sneetch-lessons or not. I think we all have at some point. We’re lucky if we stop before the striving affects us too deeply. Determining when to walk away is one of the truest tests of character there is. Thanks for another great post.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  5. What I remember about the Sneetches is dude who had that Machine that removed and/or added the stars.

    The Sneetches couldn’t pay him enough money, to keep up with the latest “Star” fashion.

    They changed their mind so often, at the end of the story, the Sneetches were all pissed off and confused, because they no longer remembered who originally had stars and who didn’t.

    Meanwhile, the dude takes his machine and drives off with a bundle of their hard-earned cash.

    He’s the one person in the story who came ahead (thanks to the Sneetches stupidity and vanity).

    There’s another moral in that, somewhere.

  6. “Life has a way of circling back all of your issues over and over again in different packaging until you figure it out.”

    Wow, wow, wow. So simple, yet so very true. Thanks for this. It really woke up something inside me.

  7. Leapin’ Starbellies! Hahehehee! I hadn’t even thought of the Sneetches but it sort of ties in with my ER alias. Wendi, you’ve definitely made a positive difference in my life. I always leave your blog feeling a little happier and a little more energetic than before. That’s quite a gift and I thank you 🙂

  8. Melissa,
    That is the highest compliment. thank you, that tells me I am on the right track with my mission.
    🙂

  9. You know it is amazing through my own experience and hearing the experiences of people like yourself, that a change only comes about when we want to make a positive difference in other peoples life. If people make me feel negative I have now learnt to steer clear or tread cautiously. So many of us look to others to find out what we are, sometimes we need to look inward and ask ourselves is what we are doing who we really are. The more you want to help others the brighter your star will shine.

    I enjoyed your blog thank you.

    Simon

Comments are closed.