This week's prompt at Wrapped Emotions made me pause and consider....
As you can see from my "about me," I am a rabbi. This means that I am constantly in the forefront of my congregation, constantly the person to whom they turn for words of advice, words of wisdom, lifecycle events, holiday celebrations, and more. One of our great rabbis, Arnold Jacob Wolf, once said that if 50% of the members of your congregation don't hate you, you're doing something wrong. We are also told to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." While in my intellectual self, I know that these are laudable goals for me as a rabbi, I also know that in my emotional heart, I want them to like me.
There, I said it. I want them to like me. (I wonder how many of my congregants actually read this blog? Anyone lurking out there?) I think this extends beyond my "job" though, and into my life. I've always wanted people to like me, to be happy with me, rather than dislike me. Sometimes I'm sure that this did not serve me well (think middle school) but overall, it makes me a generally happy person who is happy to do for others as often as possible. I suppose it is part of what makes me "good" at my job. (and by the way, I'm not the only one who feels this way in the clergy. Here's an interesting article, although not totally relevant to my life, that gives a bit of insight into how we feel...)
The past few months, and coming to a head this week, I have been dealing with someone who decided that she didn't like me. It's a long story and of course, confidential, so to paint broad strokes, it involved a life cycle event and a congregant-friend, and some decisions that I made regarding the life-cycle event and this friend's ex-husband. I believe in my heart that what I did was right, and today's event (mostly) played itself out beautifully. But I have indeed lost my friend, who no longer "likes me." I struggled with it all through Yom Kippur. I struggled with it all week. I struggled with it all day.
And now I'm done with it. I have to be. I'm not even sure where the ritual is in this (I know that was part of the prompt) but I also know that I've told myself that I'm going to be done with this. I think the ritual is in the writing, right here, right now, I'm done with it.
Someone doesn't like me.
I'm sure there are more out there, people who just haven't told me yet, but in this world, I know, this person is now out there, not liking me.
And I have to believe that that's okay.
How to let go of it? I tried my hand at some art, of course. (Thanks, Melody!) Using my trusty new journal, I ripped and glued and stuck and just mucked around, all with the intention of "letting go" of this need, this fear, of being un-liked. (As I did it, my husband's PC Magazine was on the table, and the cover headline caught my eye: "Who can you trust?" At first, this seemed in total to belong in my art. Trust is, after all, possibly one of the most important parts of this. But thinking more, I decided just to use the word "trust?" because I thought that the whole sentence perhaps illustrated that I hadn't quite done the letting go that I was working on!)
Here's the result:
And you know what? I do feel better. Much of this occurred, by the way, before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The day that "does not atone for the sins of one human being against another until they have made peace with one another" (that's from our liturgy for the holiday)... and I couldn't do it. It was too fresh, too raw. But I don't have to wait until next Yom Kippur to let it go....
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