Growing up as the third of four girls had its perks.
I almost always had a friend around at home. I always had something to wear, because I could go raid an older sister’s closet (even though I had to pay dearly for it later). But I’ve always thought that one of the biggest perks was that I was the side-show. When the older two had big things going on, and the little one needed caring for, I could get away with pretty much anything, because all the attention was on them.
It forced me to learn to take care of myself.
For that, I’ve always been so grateful. I never felt like I “needed” anyone. I was always going to be just fine on my own. And I was. . . until I realized I really wasn’t. They say ignorance is bliss, but I’ve learned it’s only bliss until you realize how ignorant you were and you have to do the hard work of learning, and becoming. That part is not so blissful.
But it’s totally worth it.
Over the years, I’ve also learned that being a strong, capable, and articulate woman can be really lonely. Growing up, I never really learned how to be vulnerable and show need. I was too busy shoving all my feelings down, letting them fuel my resolve, and that worked for me then.
But as an adult woman, it no longer works.
I’m learning that opening up to share my vulnerable places is like oxygen to my soul. Yes, the breathing part is hard and scary. But now I realize that as a mom, a wife, a friend, and leader, I absolutely can’t live without it. I need to have safe places to let all my hurting, exhausted, confused and ‘wanna quit right now’ sides show.
So do you.
It’s easy to brush all that under the rug as soon as someone asks how you’re doing. Because they’re not really asking that. All they’re really checking for is a pulse, right? Yes. That’s probably right the majority of the time. But you need people you trust to consistently dig in to check for signs of real life. People who are ready and expecting to go there.
You need them and I need them. But how do we know who they are? And if we don’t already have them, how do we find them?
We become them.
We consistently show up for others that way. We do the hard work of showing our needs and our hurt places, not just our pretty, smiling faces. We build safe places over time, through trust. I’ll bet that you already have some of them in your life. You just need a little practice showing up more authentically with people you trust.
Sure, it’s hard work.
But, you’ll find life there, a deeper, more meaningful, more purposeful life.
Share a hurt, a need or a true feeling with a friend today. I dare you. Then come back and tell me how it goes.
We can do this.
And it starts with you.
to more love,