Give people a chance to cheer. People want to be all in for you! When you are vulnerable, you make other people feel safe and when other people feel safe, they get vulnerable and that is when the miracles happen and the world changes.
I didn’t put my mess out there because I am brave, I did it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to fully breathe until I did. Do you have to put your story on the interwebs? NO. Of course not, but you do need to tell someone. It is part of accepting yourself fully and even the parts you want to close your eyes to and wish away. And it is letting someone into your heart to love you.
You get to choose your people. You get to start with a therapist if that is a safe place. You are not required to have a deep meaningful cry fest with everyone you went to high school with. But listen, as you start telling, give people grace. They will not know exactly how to love you or what to say. They might try to fix you when you only want to be heard. Your best friend might look at you with big freaked out eyes and then blurt out something that you totally didn’t want to hear.
- A lot of “advice” is given out of love and protection. My beautiful perfect sister is on her own journey right now with my beautiful perfect nephew. And I can not even count the number of times I have had to call her back and say, “I am so sorry. I know I big sistered you. I support you but I’m bossy and ridiculous.” It isn’t because I don’t think she’s capable and strong, it is because I don’t want her to have to be. I want to just do it for her. People who love us, often want to just take it away and make it better. And that’s okay, but you can also tell people how to support you. You are allowed to say, “I know you love me, but I need to hear XYZ right now.” Or “I don’t need you to respond, but blah blah blah.” Sometimes us bossy people need you to spell it out. I have gotten multiple emails that say some version of: “I am struggling, but I don’t want to tell you about it.” I love it.
- Most people won’t judge, but some will. That’s okay. Those aren’t your people. When I posted my first “I’m SOBER” declaration, I had my kids’ teachers email me and tell me they love me and they are proud of me. You guys! I saw the first comment from a teacher and my first thought was, “The TEACHERS are seeing this?!” (yes dummy, that’s how the interwebs work.) BUT in a place where they could have so easily judged me or my kids, they loved me. I have been lucky in that if people are judging me, it’s not to my face so I get to pretend it doesn’t exist. I have only had one really bad interaction, mean things were said and not funny jokes were made and it hurt. But that’s okay, it is not my job to control other peoples reactions to me.
- Which bring me to…there might be some people that you have to let go of as you start to own your story and evolve. When you change, you disrupt the relationship dynamic that has been set in place. This is not a bad thing, but there will be people that don’t want to evolve with you. When you tell your truth, you are going to make some people uncomfortable. When you decide that where you are isn’t good enough anymore, people that are eating the cake with you might feel threatened and it might come out in ugly ways. I am not saying it is easy to walk away but I am saying that you are not required to make yourself small in order to maintain a relationship. *Sidenote: If this is a relationship with a partner, go to therapy. RUN to therapy.
A friend posted this shortly after my hurtful friend convo (TEACHERS, don’t read the cussing part):
Do whatever you have to do, but don’t hide. I promise there is a tribe for you. There is someone else that is in this with you. It is scary and it is hard to be vulnerable, but it is always worth it. People can’t support you until you let them, share your heart, share your story, let your light shine bright.
P.S. To all the friends and strangers that have reached out to me and loved me and supported me, thank you. Your kindness has meant more than I have words for.