Have you discovered Brene Brown yet? I’ll start by saying that the final e in her name has a little symbol over it but I am not adept enough to figure out how to do that on my blog so just know it is pronounced Bren-ay. Good? Great.
Moving on….if I could pick anyone is the whole wide world to be my best friend it would be Dr. Brown. Just listen to her TED talk on vulnerability. Or look up her talk with Oprah (I know…Oprah…but let me tell you Oprah kind of knows what she is talking about!) about friendship. Dr. Brown is, in one word, real. She is herself and is completely comfortable admitting just how uncomfortable it is to be herself all the time!
I will give you a small glimpse as to why she is so great and why you need to buy one of her books right now. She has this theory about friendship that makes all of us introverts (and adults, really) feel so much better about our social connections. She says that you only need one – really, just one – “move a body” friend. What is a “move a body” friend? Well, this is a friend that you could call up in the middle of the night to come help you move you drunk mother in law off the couch so your kids don’t wake up to see her passed out. To call her to literally “move a body.” You would call this person because they would not judge you one bit. They would gladly come over, not say a word, and have a beer with you afterwards.
To me, this is an inspiring theory. To know that you really don’t need more than one “move a body” friend is really a big relief. It is not easy to find people like that! If you have more – you should feel lucky!
Look up Brene – you won’t regret it.
When the universe is trying to get you to learn a lesson, it keeps pounding on your door (or knocking you upside the head…whatever metaphor you choose) until you GET IT. This happened to me a few weeks ago.
We all have experienced those big life lessons – about jobs, relationships, direction, motivation, etc. I have clearly been working on the same one for a long time. There is no need to go into detail about what that lesson is or the circumstances around it – but simply that it is so important to listen to your intuition – or that “gut feeling.”
I learned that I have always confused what I thought was intuition with anxiety. I finally figured out how to tell the two feelings apart – and that they are quite different. For me, anxiety shows up in my chest. It is a deep, sharp, dark feeling that often feels like a giant knot. My intuition is felt in my stomach – literally a gut feeling.
The other day I woke up with what I perceived to be a terrible stomach ache. It was also a day, I soon figured out, that I would be presented with being disappointed. My intuition was trying to get my attention all day, but I didn’t listen until it was too late and I lost myself in an expectation.
Good news though! When the disappointment did come – it didn’t last long! I was able to see almost immediately the lesson that the universe had been trying to teach me for many, many years. I thank my intuition for this gift – without it I would be lost in the disappointment. Instead, I realized two things – first, this BIG lesson, and second, that I can trust those gut feelings and that I should listen to them! If I had recognized what was happening sooner, I would have made different decisions. But I didn’t, and I won’t get hung up on that. I instead choose to be grateful for the lesson I did learn, for those that helped me learn it, and most of all for my own intuitive sense.
Just Do It. You won’t regret it.
Here is something to try…make a list of three goals/things you want to do that may seem slightly embarrassing or completely impossible. Perhaps these are things you have never shared with anyone else. Maybe they are things you simply think you are too old to try. Just putting it on paper makes it real, and it will make you start to believe that you really CAN do these things.
I’ll share one of mine. I have always wanted to learn how to rock climb. As I got older, went to graduate school, and started teaching, that goal always got pushed to the bottom of the list. I turned 30 a few weeks ago and up until that point I was beginning to think I was just too old to start learning a new sport. Well, ultimately I had a change of heart and hired a guide to take me climbing. I also started going to the local rock gym. Let’s just say I’m totally hooked. I geared up this week and am diving in head first. It feels incredible.
Following your passions – whatever they are – is a great way to honor your true self.
P.S. I also want to learn how to play the guitar so I can jam the intro to Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.” You know what I’m taking about. I have daydreams about it. Honestly, I’m not joking. If I can admit this, you can think of a few things you really want to try, too!
Loneliness is a universal feeling. Everyone feels it or has experienced it. Loneliness comes from how we think about being alone. Feelings are attached to our thinking, and if our thinking becomes negative, so will our feelings. Being alone can be powerful and meaningful. Not everyone has the opportunity to spend time alone. My guess is there are lots of moms and dads out there who would love to have some alone time.
I choose to cherish my time alone. After a busy day at school where I can’t go to the bathroom without a line of smiling 9 year olds waiting for me to return, I enjoy spending time alone reading, going for a long run, and making dinner while listening to NPR.
It is important to have balance of course. And that is something I continue to work towards. I am an introvert by nature and although I greatly enjoy the company of others, it is not always easy for me to feel motivated to be social after a long day at school. I try not to be too hard on myself, though, because I know how well the alone time recharges me. We all have different needs and it is important to listen to your own.
A few weeks ago I started a blog about all the adventures I was going to take this summer. I wanted to connect with others and share my story and at the time, that felt like a way to do so. It soon became clear to me that my story was more than that, and I wanted to connect with others in a different way. That wasn’t really my story – it was just a story.
I shared the blog on Facebook with all of my connections in an attempt to put myself out there. It didn’t work. I didn’t feel connected, nor did I feel authentic. Yes, I love adventures and exploring new places, but that isn’t the story I needed or wanted to tell.
I think Facebook is a great way to connect with others, but it presents a skewed perception of how people are living their lives. We generally only post about the good things – the triumphs, new jobs, new explorations, etc. And that is wonderful. I love hearing about all the new and exciting things that are going on in my friend’s lives. I feel connected and inspired by their adventures.
I also think it can be very powerful to connect with others who are going through growth and change. Perhaps Facebook isn’t the place to connect in that way, but if we are all working towards living a full and happy life, then why can’t we be more authentic about our challenges? I’m not saying that Facebook should become a place to vent about your problems – not AT ALL. I just know that if I am putting myself out there on a blog to a bunch of people I don’t know, why can’t I put myself out there to a bunch of people who I do know? The answer is that I can, and I should. In the path towards authenticity and self-compassion, I choose to share my whole self.
It turns out that I’m not sure exactly what my story is, and I’m okay with that. The path to discovery is what life is, I think. That is what I’m writing about now.