I have discovered I am a “pick me” girl.
Leading my high school girl’s small group helps me stay super current and hip on my teen lingo. (Using the words “cool,” “hip,” or “lingo,” somewhat negates that last sentence.)
According to my freshman girls group, pick me girls are the ones that need to be seen, they may say things to get attention, or do things to get noticed. My son’s use the term “try-hard,” someone that just does too much or tries too hard. I am one. While I think on some level we all are, because I’m fairly sure the desire to be seen and known is innate, I recently noticed that in a couple of areas of my life I am a little off-balance with my need to be needed/known.
When we don’t feel known or noticed we feel small, isolated, purposeless, invisible, or less-than. Again, feelings I think we all experience on some level at some point, but one particular week these feelings were extremely heavy on my heart. I saw everything through the lens of feeling rejected and unwanted. Inside my heart is raising it’s hand screaming, “Pick me! Please see me. Someone notice that I am here.” As the Lord loves to do, the day after these emotions started bubbling up, I was in yet another setting where I was out of my element and not known. I just wanted God to take away those feelings. I felt I had done everything I could to put myself out there. I can remember praying, “Either make me not care or help someone see.” Instead of one of those options manifesting, I landed in yet another “I’m invisible” scenario.
A little later I was working with my amazing and precious girls small group. This young women are amazing. They make me laugh, they illicit every facial expression you can imagine, and I love getting the privilege of walking with them while they discover who God is in their lives. While we spend oh so much time talking about scripture and spiritual growth, sometimes, maybe a lot of sometimes, another subject might pop up. Boys.
Boys are a big deal, and while my phenomenal co-leader and I remind these lovely ladies that they are not the biggest deal, the subject of boys they like, and if they like them and how all those things are going, comes up rather often. I was having a conversation with some of our girls about navigating the realization that a boy might not be as interested as they are. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it happens. One of the things I said was, “If they aren’t interested, that really is enough information.”
Please know that this is so much easier to say as a 40 something that’s been married for over 20 years. So much easier than 15 and preparing to discover the love of your life. Knowing they aren’t interested, is far from enough info. There is this urge to know why, know who the other girl might be, what you did wrong, how did you not measure up, are they just shy or nervous, maybe it’s not that they aren’t interested but that they are just scared….all these things and so much more play through my girl’s minds as they entertain the possibility that that boy, that wonderful boy, may just not be interested. As I was trying to lovingly convince them that, while it stings, and it is not any fun at all to not be liked back, it is way better to know and accept that.
I shared with them how needy and whiny and desperate I was in certain scenarios with boys when I was younger. Acknowledging that it wasn’t easy to keep it that simple, I was encouraging them to stand outside that disappointment for a moment. I told one of my girls, “Ya know what’s for sure not attractive? A needy and desperate young woman.” Trying to help them see that’s one thing to like someone, put yourself out there and be vulnerable, but that those things did not require you sacrifice your dignity and the reality that they are each so worthy of someone that is super into them, not pining away for someone that simply isn’t.
Leaving one of these conversations I was praying for one of my girls. I was requesting, “God help her to see that it’s enough just knowing they aren’t interested.” I immediately recognized God’s glance over my heart. It was that one eyebrow arched emoji look that says, “Really?” I had been trying to push myself into friendships and alignments. I had been trying to position myself to be seen, and when I still felt outside I was frustrated, hurt and grappling to understand why and what I was doing wrong. I was unable to keep it simple. They simply were not interested in me, and that needed to be enough.
I could acknowledge a closed door and move through ones that were clearly and presently open. Or I could continue to figuratively knock. I could try to push my way through a door, ignoring the possibility that it’s really not the door for me, or that timing just isn’t right. But regardless of why, or how, or when…they simply aren’t interested, and that’s okay.
The other thing we try to chat with our girls about is how just because someone is not interested, or maybe a friend starts to hang out with someone new, doesn’t mean it necessarily points toward a valuation on you or them. We are trying to help them recognize “bad math” sooner than later.
Two great people may just not click. Friendships will ebb and flow. Life-interests and seasons will cause things to shift. Organizations, companies and churches can be amazing places and still not hire you. When dynamics do not evolve the way you hoped, it is not always a verdict on who you are, or who others are. If we recognize we have worth and value outside of our mistakes, our choices, our relationships, then that means others have their own value and worth outside of how the allot their attention and energy. Not everyone that doesn’t “pick you” is an enemy. Just because you aren’t picked doesn’t always make you a victim.
Sure, you can consider all the reasons why that relationship, opportunity or scenario did not work out. We can learn from trying to gain understanding as to how and why things unfolded as they did, but if we could be curious while not taking it all so personally, wouldn’t we be better off?
If we find ourselves in a season of feeling invisible, of not being seen, what if we worked harder to see others rather than getting stuck in our own feelings of not being seen. What would happen if we took all that energy trying to be noticed, or shoving a closed door open, and channeled it toward noticing others and cheering them along as they enter their open doors? We all have a little bit of “choose me” crying out, but when we operate as if we are not already ultimately chosen we may miss what God is actively preparing or doing.