Without intending to, we have become a culture that sends subliminal messages meant to save ourselves from the discomfort of other peoples feelings. (I'm guilty of it too!)
Popular phrases such as Good Vibes Only and Be Positive are meant to inspire and motivate, but the reality is, they gloss over what every single one of us encounters....real life.
The stigma of being a "Debbie Downer" or a "Buzz Kill" has previously stopped me from openly sharing how I was truly feeling. I replaced "okay" or "I'm struggling" with "I'm good!"....because honestly, it's what everyone prefers to hear. I have smiled when I didn't feel like it, I have said yes when I wanted to say no, I have cancelled plans and gone to the trouble of coming up with a more socially acceptable excuse surrounding physical health, instead of burdening others with the knowledge that it was my heart or my head that caused my need to stay home.
Observing the emotional struggles of others is not easy and I do not believe that society has prioritized ingraining the tools and strategies for sharing, listening and holding space for others into our culture.
I DO think that I see a trend that may change that: lots of attention on mental and emotional health including podcasts, non-profits, groups like Better Help, aimed at making therapy more financially accessible, social media pages devoted to grief or sharing - I feel like if someone wanted to find an outlet for their feelings, they probably could...all steps in the right direction.
So now, the work needs to be
1. normalizing ALL of our feelings
2. breaking the habit of our automatic responses
3. getting comfortable with vulnerability
4. learning how to hold space for the feelings of others.
All small tasks right? : )
I'm going to type this in big letters because this is how strongly I feel it....
There is SUCH BEAUTY in walking through this life living your TRUTH.
It is more freeing than I ever thought possible. Here I am world! This is me! Not the me I wanted you to see, not the one in perfect shape, doing stunning yoga poses, the one who knows exactly what she is doing and where she is going.....
Nope...it's more like...Hi there! I'm Katie and I love myself! I have been listening to the needs of my body and eating foods that bring me joy, I have been moving when I have the desire to move, there are many yoga poses I cannot do and I am still scared to do a headstand without the wall behind me, I really have no idea exactly where my life is going or what it will look like, and I am okay with that. I make a ton of mistakes along the way, but I am happy in this moment...and when I am not happy, I will tell you. When I ask how you are, I want a real response. I want to hold your space. I don't want to solve your problems (because I can't) or heal your heart (because only you can do that work) but I do want to support you and love you on your journey.
Let's normalize THAT.