Haha, made you look! No, but seriously, have you ever taken a big emotional risk & confided in someone in a moment of pain & suffering, and their reaction was basically, “Squirrel!?”
That sucks! This happened to me again recently, and to compound it, I’m a Creative (reference to the 5 Voices). Creatives tend to be extremely hesitant to open up to people if they’ve been repeatedly misundertood, and who hasn’t? I also tend to introversion (though my husband would debate that). So, yeah, I was taking a big risk, and I knew it.
Unfortunately, what I was concerned might happen, did – squirrel! I shared an pared-down version of my struggle, hoping they’d yield some helpful, tailored insight (keep that cookie cutter 3-steps-to-success mumbo jumbo for someone else, thank you very much). The struggle I shared was so deeply frustrating that I was willing to take a calculated risk and share anyway, in hopes that I would be wrong, and this person would really listen deeply, care, affirm the struggle, and possibly help me identify one very tangible tweak that could move me even one step in the right direction, but … Squirrel!
This sounds super depressing, and self-centered, but I share it in hopes that for anyone else who comes across this, maybe years down the road (since I never make a concerted effort to make this blog a go), you will know you’re not alone. Nobody likes to hear someone talk about themselves all the time, but who do we know better than ourselves, right? So if I can, in any way, encourage you just a little by doing a scary thing and opening my life to you, and letting you know you’re not alone, then here goes – whether you squirrel on me or not.
What did I do about it? How did I handle the pain and move another step forward?
- I didn’t give up, even though I VERY badly wanted to (That would be a whole post in itself).
- I took the time to really think about the factors that were contributing to my feeling of overwhelm, identified them, wrote them down, and then thought concretely about one or two of them and decisions that needed to be made.
- When someone very close to me came for a visit, I took time and listened to them. I asked them about what’s going on in their life & truly listened and cared. When the opportunity came, and because I knew we have a similar personality make-up and they get me, I just shared a very brief fly-over of what I thought could be the root of the problem I was dealing with.
Guess what happened? They listened. They got it.
They didn’t swing to one way or the other making assumptions about me, because they know me. They didn’t act too busy or business-y. They actually understood the struggle, and then, beautiful thing. They shared some very insightful tidbits from their own journey.
Together, we hashed out a bird’s eye view of where I could be in the journey, confirmed that, Yes, it’s hard right now, but if I don’t quit, there’s hope on the horizon! There’s a future in sight!
- I slept on it and asked God for guidance, strength, and help.
- Those couple concrete things I mentioned that needed decisions, I did the hard thing and communicated as clearly and kindly as I was able to a person involved and let them know, Change is on the horizon, and if you’d like to move with it, here’s what needs to happen (For anyone who doesn’t know me, this is not about my marriage. It had to do with some difficult business decisions).
- Since it’s not about what you know but who you know, I reached out to a couple people more experienced than I and asked a concise question that went straight to the heart of one of those concrete issues. I am taking their input to heart and will make changes, knowing that their experience has taught them the answer to one of the things that was holding me in a gridlock of unnecessary struggle, stress, and even fear.
- I got out of bed the next day and exercised, sang, and danced when I didn’t feel like it. I sang & danced until my mind felt right again, until it came into submission to my regenerated spirit that knows the truth (Again, could be another blog post in & of itself).
These steps may not be the exact same for you & your situation, but it is a great place to start! They have worked for me over & over again. Sometimes you don’t get it right the first time (i.e. choosing the wrong person to bounce things off of), and the road gets even muddier, but just don’t give up! Go through the painful process with a heart of humility & thoughtfulness, and the answer will show itself, even if over time and with more struggle than you’d like. You may not want to hear it now, but you will come out stronger & more equipped to help others. Love to you today!