How to cope when you’re disappointed you’re not invited to that New Year’s Eve party
Ryan and I know what the four of us will do every year for New Year’s Eve. The girls and I will make sugar cookies with clock faces. We’ll all drink orange soda (because Max and Ruby did on Nick Jr.). And Ryan and I’ll go to bed around 11 p.m.
This is a good night. It’s sweet, both literally and emotionally, and it’s our family tradition. I enjoy it because I love my people and I love tradition. Yet there’s one New Year’s Eve dream I’ve wanted to live out.
I dream of wearing a black sequin dress with high heels and attending a party worthy of Jay Gatsby.
And every year, I’m disappointed. Keep in mind that no one I know actually throws a party like this, so the real question is:
Why do I feel so disappointed?
I want to be viewed as a winner, which, to an extrovert, means having lots of friends and being invited lots of places. But we’re not invited to a lot of places on New Year’s Eve, and in some weird way, it feels like an attack on my identity.
But here’s how I know that I’m making progress this year—I’m not hiding my dreams or disappointment, something I’ve done in the past so that others will think I have it all together
I’ve learned that there’s unity in knowing that none of us have it all together.
A lack of New Year’s Eve plans might not leave you disappointed like it will me, but there’s something out there that makes you feel less-than and uninvited.
So in that same spirit of unity, let’s ask ourselves these three questions.
1. What if, instead of pretending that we have it all together when we really don’t, we invited people in so they can know our hurt spots?
In doing this, we’ll feel connected instead of isolated. Sharing weaknesses and vulnerabilities builds friendships. As Cloud and Townsend say in Safe People, “Begin to study what the Cross actually accomplished: we can be both loved and flawed at the same time.”
2. What if, in confessing our weaknesses, we matured and grew in our faith and relationships?
As Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation said, “Even the courageous acceptance of interior trials in utter solitude cannot altogether compensate for the work of purification accomplished in us by patience and humility in loving other men and sympathizing with their most unreasonable needs and demands.”
If we’re always all together, always without needs—even unreasonable ones like New Year’s Eve plans—we’ve set ourselves up for loneliness. No one can relate to a perfectionist.
3. What if we stopped putting up the facade that we’re perfect because it’s exhausting and no one buys it anyway?
Perfect people have a hard time internalizing grace, something we all desperately need every hour. They only have their shiny and sparkly selves to offer. They can come across as superficial, emotionally shallow and difficult to connect. Why? Because they constantly push aside their own feelings. Let’s let go of perfection and move toward relationships.
This year, like every other year, Team McCormick will make sugar cookies with clock faces, drink orange soda, and go to bed early. I still secretly desire to go to the Great Gatsby party that no one is actually throwing.
But this year, I’m not masking my desire with perfectionism. Today, I’m sharing my dream and disappointment with you, my sweet try-hard friends.
What dream, desire, or disappointment do you need to share so that you can connect with others, grow in your faith, and quit the exhausting exercise of perfection-pretending? It may not bring you what you secretly desire, but it will bring you in closer connection with those you long to share life with.