Toxic People & the Arrogance of Belonging

Wow. Damn. That’s one hell of a blog post title. Forgive me, I’m just writing stream of conciseness here, although what I have to say has had plenty of time to marinate and boil over in my mind to the point I thought I was going insane…

Although I may speak more vaguely then what some of you are used to, I feel that’s where I am at {and quite possibly WILL be at for a long time, or forever, it doesn’t matter, it’s my blog}.

When someone toxic finally leaves our lives, there is a shutter of relief that travels from the grey matter in our cerebellum to the marrow in our feet. We have to stand back from ourselves for a minute and shake our head and scream and cry… mostly because we are nearly unrecognizable.

With that bittersweet consolation of finally being free, we can be left to feel hollow, somewhat defeated, and even ashamed.

And if you can’t relate to the toxic person part– have you ever felt like shit {for whatever reason}? Well, it feels just like feeling like shit, with a side of mental and emotional prostration.

My feelings of shame stemmed from the utter lack of care I gave myself and my imagination during this clandestine time.

I’ve had to realign fundamentals of my value system, and take rudimentary steps towards the act of self love, which is fucking hard, even on a good day for most of us.

I am still reconnecting with friends and family that I felt I abandoned while I was hanging out on my train of dysfunction– careening towards a very large, very solid rock wall.  But one of the many things I have learned going through this experience is that my people love me hard.

They have welcomed me back from the edge with open arms albeit with a proverbial slap up side the head, which I deserve, and probably more, but the love never stopped, I had just refused to make myself available to accept it or show up to give it.

We could go on and on and on about people that have done us wrong, treated us poorly, shit on our soul and left it for dead… but I don’t want to, not right now, maybe never. It’s my blog.

I just wanted to make a humble declaration of gratitude for this experience because there are so many golden nuggets of character-building I’m finding every day! Some nuggets are really small and almost don’t look like gold– more like pyrite. I almost throw them back, until the light catches it just so, and I see what it is I’m supposed to be learning. And let me tell you, there are a ton of those little bastards.

I felt compelled today to write down some thoughts that have been swimming around my brain lately. And now onto the second theme of my innocuous diatribe…

The Arrogance of Belonging

This kinda blew my mind when I realized it’s true intention.

I was leaving work the other day flipping through the radio stations. I stopped on an interview already taking place featuring Elizabeth Gilbert — yes, yes, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, but who has also written some other outstanding books and is a world traveler and a hilarious optimistic.

She spoke about entitlement in a way I never realized it could be used:

you will never be able to create anything interesting out of your life if you don’t believe that you’re entitled to at least try […] creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and believing that — merely by being here, merely by existing — you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.

This concept of creative entitlement resonates with me. As I mentioned above, I really pissed the bed-so to say- on pursuing or even maintaining creative endeavors. Fortunately, I was {and still am} surrounded by phenomenally creative and artistic people in my life, and I strongly believe their presence impacted the positive turn of events regarding my recent circumstances.

Even at my lowest, I was still exposed to their beauty and individual gifts, and I strongly believe that helped me get through some dark times.

In the interview, Elizabeth references poet, Davis Whyte’s true meaning of The Arrogance of Belonging, simply stating that:

 with out it, you will never be able take any creative risks whatsoever […] it is not about egotism or self-absorption […] it’s exactly the opposite. Because often what keeps you from living your most creative and adventurous and expressive life IS your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection).


There are piles of truth in these simple words, and I felt compelled to share them so that we can get over ourselves and live our big, fat, freaking lives– creatively, and however we see fit.

Read the Elizabeth Gilbert article in its entirety here.

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5 thoughts on “Toxic People & the Arrogance of Belonging

  1. This is SO. SPOT. ON. I am grateful that you’ve been gifted with the exact words I’ve been searching for to describe what I’ve been feeling in terms of letting go or accepting my self-entitlement. While I still believe in (rare/seldom) fair work exchange, I totally understand where you are coming in terms of value and wish everyone could understand the balance (and connection) of self worth, value, and letting go. You rock.

    • Olivia Christine, I’m still blown away by the simple truth in those words– by participating in self hatred and loathing, we are totally practicing the most toxic form of self absorption. My brain gets tingly just thinking about it!

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