I just left a friend after pouring my heart out about doubts and insecurities with my own value and self-worth. I am so grateful for her willingness to simply listen without criticism and judgment. I didn’t need her to “fix it” or tell me how valuable I was. I just needed a safe friend to hold space for me in a time of discouragement. I needed to feel heard and understood.
I believe this is the most loving gift I can give to others and to myself. A listening ear and the freedom to express feelings is a priceless offering I want to give to my children, my husband, and to others. This can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar when I find myself unwilling to accept my own feelings. I often judge and condemn my feelings or pretend they are not there. I need to remind myself that there is no right or wrong with feelings. They are what they are. The gift I can give to myself is the courage to risk opening up and sharing those parts of myself that I want to hide when they are screaming to be heard. I need grace and compassion from others when I am unable to give it to myself. I don’t need to be criticized or shamed. I can do a good enough job with that on my own. I often just need to get clear around what I am feeling. At times like these, my thoughts get all jumbled up and I feel like I make no sense. In these moments I tend to catastrophize. Sometimes I need to yell and cry.
I love how Brene Brown says it in her book, Daring Greatly, “Empathy is a strange and powerful thing. There is no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, with-holding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone’.”
Empathy and understanding is what my family needs most from me. They need to know I am a safe refuge for them to share themselves vulnerably. Unfortunately, I have not always done a good job at this. The more I am willing to be vulnerable with my deep flaws and accept and love myself, the easier it is to accept and love others. The path of vulnerability is the place where I am learning to heal and find wholeness. When I love and speak truth to these parts of myself I silence the Critic that lives inside of me. If I can be a voice of love, acceptance and encouragement to my children when they are feeling ugly, messy and discouraged it will change the course of their lives.
Today when I left my friend, I had a huge weight lifted that was holding me down. Life no longer feels all doom and gloom. I am connected to myself again. My thoughts are no longer all jumbled and I make sense. Each day I am committed to loving and accepting myself for who I am because that is valuable and I am worth it. You are too.
Love and Grace,