White Flags, Connection and Self-Compassion

Lately, it feels as if there is some cosmic upheaval in the universe.  Just as so many of my friends, family and colleagues have been in struggle, I am not immune.  Ugh, vulnerability sucks, right?  No one wants to FEEL all the vulnerable things in life; we want certainty and guarantees.  At least I do. 

I think part of the mid-life unravel process for me has been coming to terms with I need to have the courage to reach out and ask for help when I need it.   And I’ve been leaning into the discomfort hard this week to pull myself through.  It’s not natural for me to ask for help – partly because I’ve created a life of high self-reliance.  I acknowledge that this is completely ridiculous, and that we all need help at one time or another, but it is only this week that I am realizing how much shame and self-judgment I have around needing help – personally, professionally, financially – you name it. 

Life is busy, and the reality is we rarely check in on one another unless there is a specific reason to do so.  It doesn’t make us need other people any less, but social media creates a false sense of connection and understanding of what is actually going on in someone’s life.  This week, I found the courage to pull out my white flag four different times with four different people for four different reasons.  Knowing the urgency of my request, one Square Squad friend even cancelled plans with others to make time to have dinner with me and let me talk.   Marbles people, marbles.

Their time, perspective and/or caring didn’t fix my struggle.  It didn’t lead to some kind of major epiphany or breakthrough.  What it did was create connection where I had been feeling isolated.  It’s hard to remember, especially when we are in challenging places, that feelings are fleeting and won’t last forever.  These are minor moments in a lifetime – it’s so important to remember to look up and out.

Self-compassion is tricky for many of us.  It’s the one seat in the arena that only we can occupy, and it’s the one seat in the arena we have a chance to step back – with empathy – and acknowledge our experience without trying to fix things, or rationalize things, or do anything to minimize.  Sitting with the emotion – without trying to change or influence it – is a skill and takes practice.  Emotions change, but they will pass much more quickly if we allow them to pass instead of trying to bury them.

After each white flag experience this week, I found myself grateful.  Grateful that I have such caring people in my life that have genuine love and concern for me.  Grateful that I had the courage to reach out and brave connection.  Grateful that I created some space for intentional self-compassion.  But I didn’t keep that gratitude to myself, I conveyed it back to them so they knew what it meant to me.

I don’t know what next week will bring, but I’m committed to looking up and out.  I’m committed to sharing my gratitude to those who bring moments of joy into my life.  We need to model Courage to one another, but it starts with Rumbling with Vulnerability.  We can’t get to the Revolution until we have Reckoning.  And friends, Courage is the ultimate rebellion.

QOTD:  “You don’t need to make everyone happy. But, when you find people who feed your soul you hang on to them + do what you can to fill them with your gratitude.” ~ Lauren Strom, Artifacts of Joy

Mood: Eclipse – Helen Jane Long

Share:  Brené Brown tells us that “Gratitude is the birthplace of joy”.  Who are you grateful for and who do you need to reach out to this week – to check in on them, to find connection with, to share your gratitude?  Can you commit to making a difference and reach out to at least one person?

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