Rae Gateley, LCSW
What's So Special About You, Anyway?
Nothing At All and Everything
This time last week, no one needed a groundhog to tell them that spring was going to be delayed. So what does one do when snowed in on February 2nd? Well, I watched the movie Groundhog Day, of course - again! I don't know how many times I've seen that movie; not as many times as Phil Connors watched Heidi 2, but I’m working on it.
I never tire of the story of Phil Connors, the rudest, most conceited jerk around. Poor Phil; he was so despicable that not even sweet Rita, who saw the best in everyone, could warm to him: “I could never love you, Phil, because you only love yourself.” But, does he really? In a rare moment of insight and honesty, Phil replied, “That’s not true. I don’t even like myself. Give me another chance."
It's not just Phil; many people find it hard to accept themselves. Some, like Phil, become obnoxious, demanding from others the validation that they can’t find within. Some take a different approach, trying hard to ignore their own emotions while pouring all their energy into meeting others’ needs. They often say that they “shouldn’t” think about themselves. They “shouldn’t” feel angry, sad, lonely, overworked, or disrespected. To these people, I want to ask: What’s so special about you? Are you built so much better and stronger than everyone else that a higher standard applies to you? Were you sent here from another planet to take care of us all? That's not humility; it's just emptiness. Just like everyone else, you need to be loved, appreciated, and respected as a unique and worthwhile individual. Just like everyone else, you will have times when you suffer because others don’t notice and respond to your needs.
In Groundhog Day, Phil is a very slow learner, but eventually makes peace with himself and the rest of the world. After trying every way imaginable to manipulate others, he finally reaches a point of acceptance. This one day is all he has, and the only relationship he has is with himself. From this starting point, he begins to develop himself into a person that he can live with, value, and even like, whether or not anyone else ever does.
Give yourself another chance, and you'll discover, as Phil did, "I surprise myself sometimes."