Find Your Tribe
It's a fairly common belief that we were built for community - humans don't do very well when left alone. But with the increasing cases of depression, suicide, and the shock surrounding such events, it seems like it's not enough just to ensure you're not alone, but paramount to safeguard against being LONELY.
From all the reading I've been doing and testing out that reading... combating loneliness takes vulnerability and authenticity.
But let's be honest... vulnerability is hard... and scary!!
We often don't show the same kindness to ourselves as we do to others, and so, we hold ourselves to ridiculous standards. And when we fall short of those standards, we question our worth and isolate ourselves in a backward form of self-preservation. Which just perpetuates the loneliness, heaping on internal, self-deprecating dialog. Cue more separation. ARG!!!
Wow - beautifully stated.
Yesterday, I met with my life coach. That still sounds bizarre - life coach - but honestly, seeing her has been hugely rewarding. Unlike a counselor or psychologist (who definitely have their place), my coach is helping me focus on moving forward with actionable steps. LOVING IT!!
Any-who - During my talk with her, I was sharing how I felt debilitated by this decision set before me. She pointed to the floor - green painter's tape outlined a 3x3 grid pattern on the carpet.
She got me to physically stand on a grid square, then walked me through this mind-blowing exercise (which I won't go into now). At the end of our time, she asked me what square was now standing out to me.
Everything in my core pulled me to the 'ALLIES' square and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
We have thousands of labels we love to use (pioneer vs. lifer. extrovert vs. introvert, optimist vs. pessimist). But, I think, all of us could use more of just 'doing us' and honor the beauty in how each part of us fits together.
I, for one, have spent far too long talking about how important embracing uniqueness is and probably you would agree with me - I think most would - but I still spend so much time on self-criticizing talk, and trying to look at others for "the right way" to do stuff. It seems my mouth isn't using the same lens as my mind when looking at my place in the world.
I think this is why the 'ALLIES' square jumped out at me at grabbed my attention with both hands.
OUR MIND ONLY KNOWS WHAT IT KNOWS
Enter our TRIBE!!
To me, a tribe isn't merely a group of friends or acquaintances. A tribe is comprised of allies who will:
Strive to get to really know each other
Be brave in being known by the others
It's a two-way street.
A tribe will journey with you as you navigate through the paths that are perfectly designed for you. If the path differs from theirs, that's OK - no, bar that - extremely healthy. No one truly walks on the exact same path - our Creator is much too creative for duplicates.
A tribe will remind you of your identity when you're questioning it - or worse telling yourself lies, they will challenge you, and expand your lenses so you can see clearly - leaving labels and failed expectations behind.
We may be able to get away with facades with friends and acquaintances but not with a tribe. A tribe needs vulnerability and authenticity. And each tribe will look different. But I think the key is to first be authentic with yourself.
Find out what is important to you, step out with a discovery-type mindset to see who may want to journey through life in a similar manner (not necessarily on a similar path - that is key to remember).
Knock on a few doors... test the waters. Then SHOW UP!! Not just the FB version of yourself, but the 'ugly-cry, face in a bowl of ice-cream' you. The 'dreaming crazing dreams that don't make sense to anyone else' you. The 'pessimistic-don't like how the world works' you. Or any other you that only you get to see... but be sure to bring YOU!!
There is one important side to a tribe that has to be mentioned. This tribe is not to be confused with an audience. If you need that one-way street, then - for sure - find a counselor/psychologist/life coach (depending on what you're looking for).
With your tribe, be willing to show up (it does get easier as you go) but also be willing to allow others to show up. We need to have the courage to be known and not miss the connection and growth as we make space for others to practice showing up as well.
ACCEPT & LOVE
That doesn't mean you have to agree on everything (accepting and agreeing aren't synonymous).
I heard this quote years ago: "When we are/show _______, we give permission for others to do the same." So if we are brave to take the first step - we will quickly see we are in good company, and so we need not fear that vulnerability will hurt us and make us outcasts. For, as Brené so eloquently said above, it's where true belonging happens.
So be brave and find your tribe!!
Photo credits (Upsplash): Perry Grone & Vern Ho