You aren’t alone.
If you have some moments or even phases of times where suddenly things seem upside-down, you aren’t alone.
If you have moments of such self-doubt and self-judgment and feel like you are a complete failure in every area of your life, you aren’t alone.
If you’ve had times that have felt so dark even if you can’t find the source, you are not alone.
We’re so busy trying to put out the best Instagram life, we’re afraid to share our dark moments. We have a lot of fears around it. When I asked people I know why we’re afraid to share our dark times, I get answers like this:
“People don’t want to hear about my struggles.”
“I think it would just make others uncomfortable.”
“I don’t want to bother people with my problems.”
“When I’ve shared with someone, I’ve felt shamed or judged.”
“I’m afraid others won’t respect me as much or won’t want to be around me.”
“Others may see me as weak.”
“My problems aren’t that important.”
Taking the Risk
Talking to people about the things that feel raw and vulnerable is hard. It’s risky. It means putting yourself out there for someone else to react to. Will they shame me, be horrified, be compassionate, love me, hate me, respect me… and on and on.
Vulnerability is serious stuff. There are a few lessons and guidelines I’ve learned along the way.
Tell the right people.
Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?”
There may be people we really want to hear our story and they may not be ready to hear it or even hold space for it. Unfortunately, we often go against our best intuition and tell the wrong people who may want to fix it, blame you, tell you what you need to do or even share your story with others without your permission.
Ask if they have the space
Even if you have the right audience, you need to ask if they can the ability to hold space for you right now. This is one piece that can completely turn around your chances of success in getting what you want. Sometimes we are so in our world and so desperate, we can forget that others have their own lives and schedules and it’s hard to really hold space if our mind is somewhere else.
Asking for permission, not only gives the other person to consider it, and also gives them a chance to truly be honest or set themselves up to hold space. Chances are, if they are someone worth hearing your story, they will set up time with you if they can’t do it immediately. Give yourself the gift of waiting for them to be ready. It will be a blessing to both of you.
If you just want the other person to listen, tell them that. If you want them to help you problem-solve, tell them that. It may feel a little strange at first because not everyone does this, but it will better ensure that you get the exact support you want.
You can even ask them to repeat back anything you’ve said so that you can hear your thoughts out loud. Sometimes this helps us see where the core wounds are and where the truth is.
If you want them to ask you questions only, tell them. Or you can just say you just need to be heard, or if they have any experience they can share with you. Be clear about what you want – and if you don’t know – tell them that.
Don’t have a tribe, find one.
For the last 8 years, I have sat in many Woman Within Circles. That’s where I take my vulnerability, darkness, celebration, light, despair, sadness, anger and so much more. I suggest checking out their Open Circles to see if you can find a tribe near you or online. If you are a man, see MKP.org for opportunities in sitting with men who are strong enough and compassionate enough to hear your truth and hold space for you.
Support is the number 1 success factor in people’s lives when they want to grow. Other people keep us motivated, accountable, connected and honest with ourselves — as long as we choose the right people and ask for what we want.
BIG NOTE: If you’re feelings of discomfort, anxiety or depression are more than momentous, I highly suggest that you see a qualified, trusted medical professional. While Inviting Shift offers a lot of tools, each person’s situation is individual and should be assessed as such.
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