Paint Your Love, Week 5: The best things are the hardest.

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!


Steph said...

Weeeird. My mantra for this week has been "You only fail when you give up."

Thanks for reaching out. It's really hard sometimes, I have trouble with it it too. My husband has really helped me with it. Anytime I'm feeling bad, I can let him know and he never laughs at me. He can't fix it, but somehow knowing that another person will listen to what's going on inside is all I need. I do the same for him, I guess we prop each other up.

Allie said...

I can totally relate. I have always hated asking people for help when I need it. I am a control freak at times and want to do things on my own... BUT I CAN'T ALWAYS! I'm glad I have amazing friends in my life whom I can rely on. You are one of those friends! And I'm happy that you chose to reach out to me. Never hesitate to!

becky said...

couldn't have said it better myself! it's been sink or swim time over here for a week and i've had no choice to barrel through things that have terrified me for too long.

if I can do it, so can anybody reading this!

***and for what it's worth, you have an interwebs full of readers that would gladly be here for you if you need it!

Magical Day Dream said...

Thanks for sharing. I can relate to you. Sometimes I feel like everybody is allowed to be vulnerable, except for me. Like I fail or am weak when I choose to let people (or myself) see that I am not that tough after all. I am getting better at it but it will take a lot more time. So happy to hear that you took a step this week by reaching out. I'm proud of you and know it is just the beginning, because you will get better at it and grow even more beautiful than you already are.

I painted my nails in the colors of the rainbow this week (see pictures on http://magicaldaydream.blogspot.com/ )

Matilda said...

just wanted to say i lovelovelove your "paint your love" series!

sarah nicole said...

This is just what I needed to hear this morning. I, too, struggle with letting people in, but I am working on it. Thank you for such an honest post.



Farjana said...

great post, and your nails look so simple and gorgeous with all the gold!

Anita said...

another beautiful post! I also had a family situation that caused me to have to grow up quickly, so I understand how isolating it is. Feeling that the adults in your life are too busy or will see your problems as trivial, that your friends will see you as too different, and having younger siblings looking to you to have the answers all made for a very serious little girl. Learning to take the world and myself a bit less seriously and learning to find the joy were big life lessons for me. Asking for help is huge; especially in a world that teaches us that we have to be independent to be considered successful. That was the easy part for me, asking for help not so much! Healing and growth is a lifetime process I think, and it is a joy to read the musings of others taking the journey. Please keep sharing!
Hugs, Anita

rosieposie said...

moorea - you are such an inspiration, truly. I am similar to you in that I push people away and isolate myself when I need help the most. Sometimes I just want a hug but literally can't ask someone for one!This is definitely something i need to work on - but knowing the problem is half the battle right?
thanks again for such a beautiful post

Linda said...

Moorea! i love reading your posts. I find myself thinking alot after spending time on your page.
This week on my blog i've shared some pages from my visual diary/counsellor. These pages i escape to when i need time to reflect and attempt to sort out the millions of thoughts running around my head. Trusting and asking for help is hard, but definately after a leap of faith pays off.

Thanks for sharing.


rosieposie said...

just did my post for this week :-)



konner said...

Gold French tips are one of my FAVORITE nail designs! They are hella fierce...

Sarah O'Holla said...

Thanks Moorea. I'm going to think about everything you just said, and try and write my own post sometime this week. My issue is confrontation, and I just had a fight with a close friend (like an hour ago) Reading this post, helped a bit, so thanks.

Jennifer M. said...

The thing I am afraid of but need to do is go back to school. I've been struggling for years to find something that felt like ME and that I could be truly excited about studying. I think (hope!) I have finally found that with graphic design and am (bravely) signing up to start classes this fall. I'm so scared though, because it's been about a decade since I was last in school and it feels very out of my comfort zone at this point. I know I'll be better off for it once I finish though. Why is it so hard to take positive steps in your life? Even knowing they're needed and necessary, it's still scary to step out into the unknown.

mle jean said...

I just discovered your blog and although this post was written over a year ago I am so glad I stumbled across it. I can relate to every sentence you wrote. I have been getting deeper into depression that past 6 months. In my late twenties, early thirties I accomplished a lot and felt very respected in the community. Which makes me feel embarrassed about being depressed. I have a bad relationship with my mental health. Thank you for sharing so much and being so honest. I am going to start painting my nails, I have definitly let myself go the past few months so I have a feeling that will be a good step forward.
thank you!

Moorea Seal said...

Thanks so much for commenting :) We all go through seasons of depression, seasons where we let go of taking care of ourselves. You're not alone in this. <3 I feel you! But we always have new opportunities to invest in ourselves again and just taking a moment each week to paint your nails is such a good reminder that you deserve to pursue wellness. So happy to hear that this post brought you encouragement. Lots of love.
xo Moorea