I often end up advocating for individual reflection and do-it-yourself coaching strategies. And what I am realizing is that, while our growth and development absolutely depends on our own self-awareness, it’s essential to be present with and share with others.
We need intimate relationship with others. We need the support, trust and sense of belonging that friendship can offer.
This idea was illuminated for me just the other day. I was confronted with some really uncomfortable feelings including worry, anger and sadness. I did journal and cry and breathe on my own… And the grief felt almost too intense to bear.
So if I clearly needed help, why is it so hard to reach out? Early on, like many of us, I had internalized messages about how unsafe the world can be. I interpreted this as my being unworthy and incapable of communicating in a vulnerable, intimate, and safe way.
As I begin to break free from this self-loathing and insecurity, I have begun to open up to the beauty and gift of intimate emotional connection with others. Scary at times, yes. Yet, something magical happens when we are in true and open relationship to another human being. In witnessing and offering compassion for our anguish and pain, healing occurs.
It was cathartic to connect with two friends about what I was experiencing.
With the first friend I actually laughed, a lot. We joked about the ridiculousness of my particular situation, my own foolishness, and my disappointment in others’ behavior. She was my witness. She helped me feel not-so-crazy, not-so-unreasonable, not-so-overly-sensitive.
With the second friend I cried, a lot. We talked about the ridiculousness of my particular situation, my own foolishness, and my disappointment in others’ behavior. She was my witness. She helped me feel heard, understood, accepted.
Sharing my truth out loud, in real time, with a live human being on the other end was healing. We can’t do it on our own. No matter how enlightened, reflective, in touch, or mindful we are. We need each other.
When was the last time you were afforded the gift of witnessing?
And if it has been a while, start calling those experiences into your life. Once you start asking, the opportunities will emerge…