Day 82: Community

I decided to take a break from social media today to get a little reset and to connect with me a bit and really dig deep into what I was feeling without all the noise from the outside world.

I can see really clearly the capacity that this situation has for good. No, I am not discounting the devastation and the loss of life. Not in any way. But…. I am choosing to focus on the positives.

When I went back online and my awareness was focused on the good that was all I could find.

People are coming together in a huge way. Communities are popping up to bring things to people in need, neighbors are reaching out to neighbors to lend a hand, we are supporting our elderly and immunocompromised communities with special store hours just for them. This. This is what life is supposed to be.

Community. People coming together in love and support.

It sucks that it has taken a global event to make this happen, but it is mother nature moving back in balance.

We are supposed to thrive, together. We are supposed to feel safe with one another and be collaborative and cooperative. We are supposed to love and be loved.

Spread joy. Be a light in the world. ❤ ❤

Day 71: Holding Space

For a long time I have been really confused about the concept of holding space.

Space, space for emotions, space to process, space to just be.

What the fuck does that even mean?

I don’t love all of the terminology that makes up the therapy and coaching world. It all feels so scripted to me, and in that way, not super authentic.

So what is holding space?

It basically means just being present with someone, not judging them or trying to change the emotions and feeling that are coming up, but just sitting with them and allowing them to show up how they need to.

This is really hard for people to do. In fact, if you have someone in your life that will do this, hold on to them for dear life. I’ve met one person who has been able to really effectively do this for me. Everyone else that has tried either puts their own experience into the conversation and gives advice, or tries to change the emotions. When I am mad, I want and need to be mad, I don’t need someone to cheer me up! It is really hard to hold space for people if there isn’t mindfulness and presence. Sometimes this means knowing when to keep your mouth shut and just let people talk. It is a huge gift that you can give to someone, to just show up and listen.

The concept of holding space for someone, truly doing this, is that each person is capable of discovering their own path and their own needs. It is a place for them to process events and come up with whatever next steps they need to.

The thing about holding space for someone is being confident and secure enough in yourself to just let them say what they need to. This is much easier for me to do with a stranger than it is with someone I am intimately connected to. Those intimate connections, while I may listen, I still take in what’s being said and try to figure out how to fix things. This is one of the hardest things that we can do with our partners and friends, but also one of the most rewarding. When someone knows that you are listening, without judging or distraction, it opens up this whole arena for vulnerability, trust and compassion that may otherwise be lacking.

I challenge you to try it this week. The next time a friend comes to you to chat, just let them talk. Listen actively. Don’t worry about how you will respond or how you can help them. Listen, repeat back what they said, drop in some support and let them have their own emotional experience. I guarantee, people will love you for it.

There is nothing as loving as a friend who just listens. ❤ ❤

Day 52: The Energetic Door Slam

Okay, technically it’s day 53. I didn’t write last night. I was in the throes of emotional agony and firmly adhered to my bathroom floor.

I am fascinated by my Myers-Briggs type right now. I am not sure why this is coming up, likely because I am still trying to find all these little pieces of me that have been scattered about my life. I wrote about my “personality type” here.

Anyways…. I have always been a runner. Nope, not physical runner though I did do that for a time, but I mean a runner in life. When things get “bad” in one place I pack up and go and start over again. This is a repeat pattern for me. I realized a while ago that running and not dealing with things means I find myself in the same situations. Maybe I’ll write more about this tomorrow. As I was reading about the INFJ personality type I came across this article about the INFJ door slam. What is a door slam? Basically it’s shutting someone out of your life, there are some that think INFJs are more likely to door slam and do it harsher than other personality types, some think there is no difference. I can only speak from personal experience and for me I am well versed in cutting people off emotionally.

In my life, love takes a long time to die, it’s a really long road, but once I reach the end it’s really hard to come back. The door shuts, firmly. There are times when the door shuts and there is no amount of knocking that will ever open it again, and then there are times the emotional door shuts but I keep in contact with the person in question. What happens to that love? I like to think each person has their own container, labeled for them. Some have a HUGE container, some have a teenie tiny one. The love that is in those containers doesn’t ever die. It can’t really, but the flow can be cut off totally so there is not even a shred of outgoing light and that love can be redirected.

It’s an interesting phenomenon too because INFJs, in general, are super sensitive and feel really really deeply, which means that things said can cut deep and have a lasting impact. Often times the person who is making the cuts doesn’t realize the damage that is being done and then when the door shuts they can find themselves confused about what happened or why it happened. I am experiencing this with my mother actually. She has asked me to tell her what she did wrong to elicit me setting boundaries. The truth is she hasn’t done one big thing, it’s more a series of small indiscretions for decades that have resulted in an avalanche of emotional shit between us. The reason the door is even cracked at this point is because she doesn’t know how her behavior effected me and my job as an introvert and as just… a decent human… is to communicate when there are issues. Of course, as a child in an abusive home, these are not conversations that happen. It would be so easy for me to close this door, and a few others in my life. And I will to those that become too toxic to tolerate, but this isn’t something that can or should be done lightly.

The thing that I am struggling with at the moment is how to maintain boundaries and still forgive people. I have this warped sense of forgiveness and this fear that to forgive someone means to open your entire heart to them. I haven’t figured out how to manage giving acceptably sized chunks of my heart, it is kind of all or nothing, and I haven’t figured out how to shift the relationship to something different. Fundamentally, I think people are doing the best with the knowledge they have and they make decisions and take the best actions with all of the information and wisdom that they possess. This doesn’t excuse bad behavior but it does take into account all of the warped conditioning people are subject to, the lies they tell themselves and all of the other fucked up cognitive distortions they have. We all do the best we can.

Sometimes the door needs to be closed temporarily. Sometimes it is like there is a tune up that is needed. The door needs to shut to close off all of the noise and confusion and to reset the relationship. This does not feel good. For me or for the other person, but it is in those painful decisions that a healthier set point can be obtained (I think…. I’ve never actually successfully navigated this but… I find myself trying).

That’s where I am at with Mr. X. For as much as we love each other and as much of an amazing connection that we have, love alone isn’t enough. When one person is so profoundly in love with another the switch to friendship can be a very long road. Right now my heart hurts deeper than I ever knew it could. It is a panicked, gut wrenching, not hungry, can’t sleep feeling, but the door needs to stay shut, until a time when I can open it with my heart in check and those feelings in a box. I don’t know if or when it will happen, and all I can do right now is process this situation. It is a death and rebirth all at the same time. Each step taken, not knowing if the next will be under my feet.

Sophocles wrote ” One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: the word is love.” When love with another causes that pain the only thing one can do is look inward. Find the love that exists in the heart, bring it to the surface and shower yourself with it. Realize that the pain is taking you somewhere. Somewhere different, somewhere clearer and ultimately somewhere better.

Hearts are the most painful thing to break, and they take the longest to heal.

Stay strong, friends. Shower yourself with your love, you’re worth it. ❤ ❤