Is there a certain "thing" in your life that you feel like would probably help you if you just followed through and DID it? Perhaps it is the act of reaching out to someone, following through with eating healthy, quitting smoking, learning to forgive, going to bed earlier, admitting something to yourself that you are scared to admit. Everyone has something like this. Everyone has something they secretly or openly wish they could overcome. And everyone struggles. I think it is just human nature to struggle, to avoid what you fear, to avoid what you know is actually best for you because, hey, challenges and change can be intimidating!
It is human nature to struggle. I mean, I honestly don't know if I would feel as joyful as I do at my high moments if I didn't have to struggle to get there, if they weren't rare, if I didn't have hard times to compare them to. Life is full of opportunities to acknowledge when you need to make a change, to pursue something better. And choosing to take on the challenge is freakin' hard! But when you know deep down inside that there is something that, if you just worked on it, would help you, encourage you, or make life feel a little bit better, why don't you do it?
My "thing" that I KNOW would help me if I just have the guts to do it is reaching out to others when I need them. First of all, it is soooooo hard for me to admit that I need help when I am down or lonely. It is hard for me to admit that hey, I do need a little attention, a little love. My whole life, I have thought that being strong is about being strong on your own without anyone's help. And it's only in the past few that I have come to realize, strength is found in vulnerability, in reaching out when you need it, admitting you are human and are not an island, as cool as that sounds :)
I have THE hardest time telling people my needs. I have strong opinions, but I really don't like seeming like I am demanding. I talked with my counselor this morning about how I have a hard time connecting to people sometimes when they seem to only see one side of me. I am strong willed and determined when it comes to my work and I never cave to peer pressure, and some people ONLY see me as "dominant and strong willed." On the other hand, I am extremely cautious and very very timid. I don't like stepping on toes and I want to always make people feel safe and comfortable. When people only see this side of me, they just think I am "spacey/daydreamy/shy Moorea."
It is hard for me to reach out to others when I feel like they don't really get me or only can see one side of me because, when they see me as super strong, I feel kind of ashamed when I am feeling very vulnerable and timid. And then if they see me as timid, I really don't want to voice my needs because I don't want to come off as whiny or needy.
I grew up not really having anyone to talk to. My mom was dealing with some really hard stuff when I was growing up. And I always felt guilty confiding in my dad because he is a priest and takes care of people allll day long, counseling them, visitng them in the hospital, etc. I felt like I was adding an extra burden on him if I ever let him know I was having a hard time. I know now that confiding in him is something he would have wanted, but as a little girl I was just really really shy and afraid.
When things felt especially especially heavy for me, I would write a little note to my parents and slip it under their bedroom door. I was just excruciatingly shy and timid and opening up was really really hard. I went through a lot of traumatic events when I was little which caused me to close off and grow up fast. And everything went internal for me. I began to believe that strength was found in me and me alone. An island.
In recent years, I have slowly begun to see I just can't do everything alone. And not just 'I can't do everything alone' but it is truly not healthy for me to only rely on myself. I am an introvert and need my quiet time and independence, but 100% alone time all the time just is not healthy for a person, for me. I shouldn't carry all of my worries deep inside me. And I shouldn't hold all of my joys inside as well. I have insecurities as most people do, and I think reaching out to others is scary because I have to admit to myself that I am struggling. I am a generally confident person in most of who I am and what I do, but when it comes to truly showing others that I need them, I am fearful. I am fearful of judgment, fearful that I am encroaching on their time and their life, fearful that I have to admit my weaknesses to myself, fearful that that others don't want to invest in me or listen to what I am saying. Oof! Too many worries!
I am not an island. And just like everyone else in the world, I struggle. I have times when I am down, times when I am lonely. I mean, hello, I work from home, have extremely long hour work days, rarely give myself a day off, and my roommates are never home. Of COURSE I am going to get lonely! Or course I am going to have moments of self doubt when I am shut up in my little hole for hours and hours everyday. I am my own worst enemy sometimes...but I can be my best saving grace if I reach out when I need to. I owe it to myself to reach out to friends when I need them. And likewise, they should know they are always welcome to reach out to me when they need help, love, and attention. I am beyond grateful for my boyfriend because he is the first boyfriend I've ever had who really shows me that he wants to invest in me. He has taught me how and why I should accept love and help from others. Now, to work on accepting and seeking love from others.
Reaching out to others is so scary for me. But I am working on it. In the last few months, I've learned to reach out to Kyla and Leigh-Ann when I need help or advice on my work. Asking for a little help in your work is not failing, it's just getting a fresh perspective. I've been going to counseling for about 2 months now and having a counselor to talk to has been so so so helpful for me in learning to verbally process past experiences and present ones, trusting that someone values my words and is willing to listen to me. And now I am working on reaching out to my friends when I need them. I was feeling a bit lonely this past week and finally gave my friend Allie a call to see if I could come over and hangout at her house last night and we ended up hanging out with a few girl friends, eating a delicious dinner, and watching some of my favorite tv shows. Something hard for me, reaching out, turned into something joy-filled and relaxing, enlivening and a much needed friend time. I told her I was feeling lonely and I needed her. And she let me in. Sometimes what you fear and what you know is best for you is actually a lot easier than you first realized if you just take the leap!
What is THAT thing you fear that you know is actually good for you? What is THAT thing that you want to do but you are afraid of? This week, there is no failing, there is nothing to fear. This week, believe you can do it. This week, paint your nails as a reminder that you ARE going to to what is best for you. You are going to TRY. And there is no failing, just try and try again. So you WILL keep trying no matter what. Let your painted nails be a marker of the fact that you have made a commitment to do THAT thing which you have been afraid to do.
I promise to you that I am going to reach out to my friends here in Seattle more and I am going to let them know when I need them. I am not going to be afraid of feeling needy. I am human. You are human. And we all deserve to do what is best for us, even if it is scary. Let's do this!