Recently I almost lost a close friend. Because I hadn’t called him for months.
I hadn’t called him, because the mess I accumulated in my life felt so hard that I hated the idea of opening up.
Being faced with the obvious sense of lack I experienced during lockdown and after, my subconscious answered with a loud “Don’t make talk about my feelings!”
I massively disliked the person I had become. I despised the negative energy I would spread the moment I’d share what was really going on and it felt almost like… an offence to my friend to present him with a version of myself that was such a wreck.
But the actual root of it was a deep sense of shame towards myself. An embarrassment of NOT being in an acceptable state.
For me this is rough. I work in an industry where I made it my mission to support others in finding their flow. I took pride in my capacity to believe in people when they couldn’t do so themselves. Not being able to radiate that felt like failure to me.
I didn’t wanna put my negativity, my heaviness on anyone. I wanted to take full responsibility for my actions and feelings. But it was impossible to communicate authentically while taking such a high level of self-responsibility. I couldn’t open up any more to people, because the moment I’d do so, my pain, my sense of idiocy would just overwhelm me.
So on top of everything I also felt lonely.
Over the months of living in this self-contained bubble of focusing on just keeping my composure, not gaining too much weight and not messing up my business TOO much, I realised: My whole life had become this utterly uninteresting muddy mesh. Wow. Not rock bottom. But… muddy bottom.
So I started to look around. And I noticed that I am surrounded by a lot of people who struggle to connect. Because they are so unsatisfied with how their relationships, their jobs (or their entire lives!) are going; because they fail to find something to be proud of; because they are ashamed of how little of a clue they have on how to build that amazing life – whatever that may mean to us.
Maybe you know that feeling, too.
It took me months to realise that what I had missed was true connection. And to walk up to my friend just to (OF COURSE) hear that he’d prefer a raw but honest version to a fake version of myself. And that it is not my duty to be happy all the time.
Sitting here and telling you “Please do not sacrifice intimate connection to calm your ego” sounds almost hypocritical. Easier said than done. But today is a pledge to have mercy with yourself.
But let’s soften your inner critic by understanding that if our inner world feels so grim that we feel embarrassed to open up even to those who love us the most…
… let’s remember that real friends love authenticity more than an instagrammable version of others.
…and let’s remember that what gives us fulfilment in the long run are the choices that we made (and not the car and the rooftop appartment – they just give us certainty).
In case this resonates, here’s a little nudge. Some cool questions you can ask yourself:
1. What image of myself have I gotten so attached to? Am I telling myself the story that I “first have to be successful” and THEN I can feel happy?
2. What is my deepest pain the experience of which I am running away from?
3. Who (apart from The Arc ;)) would love me MORE if I share exactly how I am hurting?
I am not saying “go and dump your sh** on others”.
But maybe let’s increase our awareness for the relief (aka the healing) that CAN take place if we do.
To share or not to share. Your choice. Hopefully you are leaning to the latter, though.
Maybe you too are struggling, because you are vaguely (or concretely) unsatisfied.
Maybe you are longing for a real peer group to both challenge and support.
In case yes, let us know and sign up for one of our free coaching coffee chats where we sit down together and chat about:
What’s your biggest (actual!) challenge that holds you back?
What do you (actually!) want? And whether The Arc can support you or if we can recommend you someone else.
Let the adventure begin.