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on embracing disappointment

sometimes it's the hardest thing we'll ever do to pause our ever-moving-forward agendas long enough to see another person. to have compassion and grace and understanding for them, especially when it interferes with our desires, when it means laying down our own needs in order to meet theirs.

our own motives and our own agendas can feel so important and forefront, so that moment of yielding to someone else can feel almost impossible. like a death of sorts.

because you know what? it hurts to die to self. it just does, no matter how insignificant it may seem to an onlooker.

but i'm learning to embrace all of the emotions that come with disappointments like this, not to ignore them or feel shame for experiencing them (probably the hardest part for me). to feel them, acknowledge them, let them sit there while i figure out the next right thing.

it's hard work to live in the tension of wanting to be healthy and magical and able to live above the waves - while still being very much human and vulnerable to the ebb and flow of circumstance and emotion.

a few months ago i came to the conclusion that i don't think i'll ever feel like "i've arrived" when it comes to my ability to process emotion and i still agree with that assessment. because here's the thing i now understand: it's really a problem with how we define emotional health. emotions make us feel weak, and we don't like to feel weak. we think health means never actually needing to feel emotions because we've gotten to a place of self-sufficiency and impenetrability that we're totally in control and got all our stuff figured out. nothing can hurt us because we've evolved to this place of "arrival", above the clouds somewhere, untouched by the human experience of emotions.

i'm figuring out that even though it feels counter-intuitive, we've got it backwards. instead "arriving" looks like actually feeling our emotions, acknowledging them, processing them and working through them. that's actually strength, not weakness. as Brene Brown says in her book Rising Strong, "when we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don't go away; instead, they own us, they define us." so it logically follows that leaning in to spaces that are uncomfortable and hard and make us feel weak, doing the hard work of staying there as the waves come and go, that's beautiful and undeniable strength. 

that's a whole-hearted human existence which is exactly what i want to fight for every day for the rest of my life.

“Vulnerability [allowing yourself to feel and acknowledge your emotions] sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” -Brene Brown | Daring Greatly


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