You try to be big.
You try to buck up.
You try to be brave, and courageous, and tough, and content, and hopeful and positive.
You practice gratitude.
You pray for strength.
You fight hard.
You dig deep.
You apply discipline.
You surrender your heart.
The heaviness of your body lingers… the ache in your heart won’t leave… the tears continue to flow… and the overwhelming stress of life consumes.
And oh the lies…
You can’t do this…
You are all alone my friend…
Just give up now…
No one is coming to save you…
There are no answers…
No one could possibly be dealing with something this ugly…
Life is plain ol’ hard, so deal with it…
So because there’s nothing left to be said… there are no tears left to be shed… there is nothing left to be done, it must mean you throw in the towel and call ‘er a life. Right?
Friends, you reach out.
This week I made one ginormous move to go against every last bit of my natural instinct – my, “introverted-and-reclusive / need-to-understand-everything-before-I-share-it / deeply-thinking / private-and-mysterious,” self – and I reached out.
I reached out!
I crawled out of my skin, bared my broken soul, and shared with a few very wise people three very vulnerable things:
I admitted that my present and very stressful struggles are overwhelming… and I asked for a listening ear.
I got honest about the fact that no matter how hard I keep trying, I just can’t figure it out, I can’t make sense of anything, and I’m surrendering to that fact that I can’t do it on my own… and I asked for advice.
I verbalized out loud – to them and to myself – that I need help carrying the load… and I asked for support in moving forward.
Here’s what happened:
They listened to me.
They cried with me.
They hugged me.
They affirmed me.
They encouraged me.
They assured me they’d support me in anyway they can as I move forward.
They didn’t laugh.
They didn’t judge.
They didn’t walk away.
Oh and, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
So, uh… why are we so afraid to be vulnerable?
We deny people the privilege of celebrating with us in the happy times when we deny them the process of our pain in the bad.
Wanna know something else that’s cool?
The day I reached out for help is the same day two friends reached out to me.
See how that works?
When you make yourself vulnerable to other people, your open disposition exudes an authenticity that tells everybody else, “I am flawed and broken too… so let’s walk through this thing called life together.”
Is this not what it means to live in community with each other?
Is this not what sincere friendship looks like in moments of hardship?
Is this not what it means to serve one other with love, respect, gentleness, empathy and kindness?
Here’s the challenge: go first.
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known.