I have struggled with low self-worth and marginal self-confidence since moving to Seattle two and a half years ago. I have pulled in a decent paycheck most of my adult life. Now that I am the new girl in a city where I have few friends and a business that is relatively unknown, my income is close to zero. While I am taking excellent care of my family, I am equating my business net worth with my personal self-worth. I know this is the wrong way of looking at it, but that is where my head is.
I was recently asked to attend a $150 per plate (suggested donation) luncheon for the second year. Although this is a hefty sum for my business presently, I accepted. You never know who you will meet and the connections you might make.
My table captain texted me the day of the event telling me she had oversold the table by one and that I would be sitting nearby. I was not bothered because I knew I could make good connections regardless of where I sat. I arrived uncharacteristically early to discover I was still sitting at the table of my original table captain. Great!
I settled in, and I began chatting with each person as they arrived. I was delighted to see a lovely women I met last year. We smiled and waved as I drawled, “Heeeey!!!” from across the table. I was having a wonderful time!
About five minutes before the program was to begin, I noticed a small hubbub off to the side. My table captain and another lady were speaking to each other. Suddenly, my table captain asked me from across the table if I would move so this woman could sit down. I was stunned and embarrassed. I quietly told the gentleman seated to my left I was being asked to move, and I quickly gathered my belongings and vacated the seat.
A Hasty Exit
As I sat one table over in my new seat, I was crushed. I felt tears welling up despite telling myself not to be upset. That’s when I knew I had to leave to avoid making a scene. As discreetly as I could, I left with my $150 check still in my wallet. All the way home, I cried in my car. Later that day at my boutique job, I barely held it together as I shared the story with my co-workers. As I told it to my husband that evening, I bawled like a baby.
It was not Personal
To be made to feel you are not welcomed, not good enough or not important hurts. To be fair to the table captain, her actions were not personal. We barely know each other. She was simply accommodating long-time supporters of the event. However, I was taught to make an extra fuss over the newcomer so they feel the most welcomed.
What I Learned
As an optimist, I look for the lessons in the trials of life. Here are the three things I took away from this difficult day:
- Know your place at the table. You may not be good enough to be at one person’s table, but you sit at the head of your own table. You have the seat of honor at many tables of those who love you. One person’s opinion of you does not define you.
- Keep saying yes. Do not allow one bad experience to send you into hiding. Keep your head up, remain true to yourself and continue to accept invitations that come your way. Keeping your heart open is a vulnerable position, but closing your heart is damaging to you and to those around you.
- Remember the lesson when it’s your turn. My “table captain” moments will be my opportunity to do things well. I hope each person will feel like the most important person in the room.
If one day you are asked to move (either literally or figuratively), do so quietly and gracefully, holding onto the knowledge that you are valuable beyond measure.
I love this post. It really touched me and they are some great lessons to learn from an awful experience. Keep being the optimist, Bethany!!
Will do, Fadia! Thank you so much!
Lori DeVore says
Bethany, you are a delight to be with. I admire you and love your beautiful smile!
Thank you, Lori!! Xo
Leah Della porta says
Bethany you see good in everyone. Those people who asked you to move over did not realize how much it was hurtful to you as a newcomer. This is a very good example of what can happen to newcomers to the city. I admire you very much and your sense of fairness.
Thank you, Leah!!
Lu Harding says
Bethany, u are so lovely and talented and seem so self confident. I had no idea u were struggling and apologize for not being more actively supporting. I probably would have stayed and eaten my dinner, all the rolls in the basket, and any non claimed desserts I could find. But u are such a true lady. I am proud of you, my dear cousin, Southern in Seattle. Keep on setting the best example to those around u and let Jesus shine in u! Love, lu, p.s. let me know if I need to take mother’s walking stick after anybody! You know she loved u so!
Thank you, my sweet cousin, Lu!! Love you so much! I know Aunt Kathryn was always so loving to me. Miss her. That sounds like a great idea! Ha! xo
Ann C. Epperson says
Beautifully presented–humbly, gracefully, and with dignity!
I understand beyond measure. I will tell you one day! I think your blog will soon open a new world of professional success and achievement. You will also reach many that could not arrange or afford a personal consultation, giving them the inner and outer beauty you seized.
Thank you, Ann. Love you.
Powerfully written Bethany and such a tactless thing for that woman to do. I am not so much of a lady and probably would have said something about everyone’s worth being equal but I admire your decorum and the lesson you took from this. I am SO delighted you are in Seattle and I hope you are starting to find the community you are looking for because it’s definitely here.
Thank you, my friend. Appreciated more than you know. xo
Her Common Thread says
You are an inspiration and always finding the good and lesson
in every situation! I’m so very happy to be on this journey with you in this new city as a fellow Dallas new-comer! I seriously can’t imagine what it would have been like without you! It was definitely a “God thing.” I think that might be a southern saying too. 🙂 Keep on spreading the light you do so naturally. I’m here for you! If anything like that happens again, I’ll be waiting with a cocktail!
Oh, thank you, friend! I don’t know how I made it 1-1/2 years here w/o a fashion buddy! Amanda was so sweet to be your stand in until you arrived. :)) Thank you for reading this and for the sweet comments. I will take that cockail *anytime!*
Agnes Mallet says
You can’t imagine how you struck a chord with this powerful, honest, graceful post. I am sorry you had to go through this absolutely inelegant and rude treatment. However, i bow to your resilience and taking the high road, your tribe awaits…. let’s have coffee soon. XO
Merci beaucoup, Agnes! Oui! Let’s! Looking forward to it!
I seriously understand all of this. I’m tearing up for you. And now I’m going to text you so that we can set up a date. You can be the captain of our table.
I can’t wait, Mary!!
P. Lam says
Good advice. Thanks for sharing such a personal experience.
Thank you for reading it, Pam, and for your comment!
Gary Walden says
I loved reading this, as difficult as it was to conceive of. The comments as well are insightful as they indicate all of us have endured similar experiences at one time or another. The world of events can be fun and rewarding and also jarring and unsettling at times. Yes, there will come a time when your host will find herself in a circumstance where she is the uncomfortable guest; hopefully she will have someone like you at the helm to guide her in a polite manner so she can learn how it’s done.
We all have moments where we are moved to step aside for someone more “important” and what matters is how we handle it, and you walked that tightrope better than I would have. Congratulations to you for that smart move. Use your wisdom to negotiate encounters with your host moving forward. Love you!
Thank you so much, Gary. Much love.
Stephanie Smith says
Thank you for writing a post that is so vulnerable and “REAL”!!! From reading your posts on fb, I never would have known that you were feeling this way.
I have moved MANY times and it is always stressful and difficult. As you may or may not know, I lived in Seattle area for 2 years while I was an Image Consultant also. I left a thriving business so that my husband could explore an opportunity. I found Seattle a very difficult place to be an Image Consultant. I had one woman tell me that she loved living there because no one cared what they looked like and she could wear jeans and flannel shirts where ever she went! You do know that “Grunge” started in Seattle!!! I moved from the Midwest and it was an adjustment for me, I can’t imagine moving from Dallas!! ( BTW-I am leaving for a conference in Dallas tomorrow.) I have lived in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Texas, California, Illinois, Arizona, Brazil and Washington. I enjoyed living everywhere BUT Seattle. I have friends from all over the world but very few from the time we were in Seattle. So as I was reading your posts, I thought it must just have been me and I was happy that you weren’t experiencing some of the difficulties that I did.
Your attitude is spot on! You will meet people that appreciate who you are and what you have to give. It just may take more time. Meanwhile, you are building compassion and strength in yourself. You know that lack of self confidence and low self worth are not your natural state. I do not know you well, but I do know that you should not be suffering from these afflictions. You are a child of God and made in His image and therefore, you are MAGNIFICENT!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for having the courage to post this! It will help so many other people who feel the same way you do!
Stephanie, thank you so much for this thorough and thoughtful reply. There are some very successful image consultants here, so I know the clients are out there, but you are right that the overall mentality here is that personal image takes a back seat. I hope Dallas is kind to you and not too hot! 🙂 It’s a great city that I called home for 21 years. This move has been much more difficult than I imagined it would be. It’s a good age to move kids (they were four at the time – twins), but a tough age to be their mama since they still need me and I have less time and freedom for my career. But I am enjoying writing again, and maybe it will help propel me to something new. I love image consulting, but I am open to other things. We shall see! I am glad so many enjoyed this piece and found something in it relate-able to their lives. Thank you again!
Sincerely Jules says
Thank you for sharing this. It’s not always easy sharing our vulnerable sides but we all feel this same way. I love your optimism + I also firmly believe there is a lesson we learn in our most trying times or situations that often leave us a better person. Much love to you, my friend! ❤️
Thank you, Julie! ox
Wow, Bethany what a Grand Lady you are. I’m not sure if I could have handled it so gracefully.
Thank you very much, Grace.
I might add, a good hostess/table captain would have moved HERSELF to the other table, not asked her guest to do so ; )
Another person on the Facebook thread mentioned this. It actually had not occurred to me, but, yes, she certainly could have. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!