I have a lot of friends right now who are going through some really tough stuff. And this sucks. All the memes in the world cannot make up for a heavy heart. And I have learned that Instagram and creative collages only prompts a temporary fix. The initial feeling is great, but the high wears off when you resolve to re/face your struggle. We are a world who believes in vulnerability, and Brené Brown has allowed us to do so (thanks, B.). I am the number one banner holder, “BE VULNERABLE, Y’ALL,” and am slowly grappling with the reality that this advocacy also includes me. This belief also includes me.
I received a lot of love after my post last week, including many friends commending me for being vulnerable and sharing my thoughts, feelings, and ah-ha life moments. Additionally, many others challenged me to continue, “leaning in,” and for that, I am. Leaning, that is. Not sure what I am leaning-in to just yet, but I’m working on figuring that out. In some form, I think we are all figuring that out.
I had one specific friend reach out to me this weekend, an individual who I have always loved and admired for quite some time. She’s a phenomenal wife, parent, and human being, and also someone who makes you feel valued and valuable with every interaction. The interesting thing about this person is that she and I have actually not spend a ton of time together. We have a mutual love for a very close friend of ours, and have relied on social media to celebrate and affirm each other from a distance. Her email was really special to me, and among a mass of great nuggets, one point really resonated with me most:
“What I’m saying is, “leaning in” can mean a ton of different things and only you can decide which way to lean.”
This was probably, without her understanding, exactly what i needed to hear/see/read/visually experience. I have been building up this guilt that, if I care about myself and my own interests and values, will I then be doing someone else a disservice. What about the others? This was, perhaps, my greatest hangup in my previous position: If I care so much about other people, how can I be congruent with that value when I put myself first (even the basic things like health, wellness, happiness, etc.).
This is a crock of shit. And incredibly unfair.
And I get that. I totally get that. And like my friend suggested, we lean in in different forms. I think I was previously so caught up with leaning in to everything else (whatever, “everything else,” meant during any given month), that I forgot to lean in to me. I get to choose this. I get to choose how and when and with whom I lean.
…and so do you. And this is a beautiful and empowering realization.
PS – Looking to have your own “moment?” Start here: “Coffee Cups,” Langhorne Slim & The Law