Our fabulous photography intern Hena, uploaded the images from our GNO on Thursday. I was thrilled to scroll through them this morning! I loved seeing all the smiles, hugs and connection. I could even see some contemplation, I recognized as soul-searching, and it made my heart sing. But as I was scrolling through the beautiful images, I had this thought.
What if I was on the outside?
You might not see me there, but I’m actually in this circle of ladies. We were doing a fun exercise with Elizabeth on different personality types. This group happens to be the “Extrovert Thinkers” out of the group, so of course, we are loud, waving our hands, laughing, explaining. . . and ended up undecided on our one task.
But I was on the inside.
What if I wasn’t? If I saw this image on social media and didn’t know it was a public event, how would it make me feel? What if I didn’t realize it was a planned exercise with pre-determined groups? Would I feel included? Welcome? Like I fit in?
I think I’d feel left out.
I’d feel like there was something good going on, that I’d like to be part of. Maybe that’s just the “extrovert” in me, but I think it’s more than that. As women, we have a longing to feel included, part of the group. Even if we don’t really want to be doing what they’re doing right now. We don’t want to be left out.
Here’s an example:
Since I’ve been out-of-town, (on a fabulous vacation) I saw a picture of some friends all together celebrating another friend’s birthday. I instantly felt two emotions… happy for them, because they looked like they were having a blast, AND a little bummed, like I was left out (even though I wasn’t even in town!)
Rationally, it makes no sense, but emotionally, it’s how we’re wired.
Way deeper than our rational brains can comprehend, we have a need for connection. We all want to feel included. As a result, if there’s any inkling of feeling excluded, our brains send out an alert to our bodies and our hearts, “Not safe… run… protect… protect!”
And often we do.
But what if instead, we noticed the feeling. “I feel a little on the outside here” and we did something better than running and protecting? What if we did something harder?
What if we stood right there, on the outside and . . . chose to love?
What if instead of running, hiding or protecting, we opened up? What if we leaned into it? What if it we let it make us more aware of the way it feels to be left out? What if we took that new information and intentionally included someone we noticed being left out alongside us?
You are never alone.
You can be sure that whatever you are feeling today is also being felt by someone else around you. And if you can muster the courage to extend an invitation, a hug, even a smile, you might catalyze healing and hope for you both.
There’s a gift in being on the outside.
You just have to be willing to look for it. . . and sometimes even create it.
to more love,