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Who Do you get to be?
August 6, 2017
Have you ever had a friend who says something to you that changes your life? Something that you keep coming back to? A wisdom that acts as a compass, helping you find true north to steer your life in the direction you want to go?
I remember when I first met my friend Antonio and told him about something that wasn’t working in my life. Maybe I was a little embarrassed and, just maybe, I was also attached to my story. Antonio said That's such great news! I thought Who is this guy? What do you mean this is the good news? I do remember having a moment where I wanted to stick a shoe in his mouth. The nerve! Here I was, uncomfortably vulnerable and Antonio was happy. He said The good news is: if you see it isn’t working you get to fix it. Just think of what your life looks like when you do.
None of us likes to be called on our stuff. None of us wants to have someone point out where we’re coming up short. We think it means we’ve failed or we’re not good enough. We feel ashamed of our own limitations. The problem isn’t that we have limitations, it’s that we can get stuck in them. They become the ground we stand on.
Examining where we come up short can be an incredible opportunity for growth. When we start to clean up our acts we create a healthier relationship with others and ourselves. That is great news.
I recently had a very old friendship implode. It was both devastating and liberating. It was devastating because I had to look at ways I wasn’t keeping healthy boundaries, ways I asked for support or nurturance that weren’t serving the friendship, honoring another person’s space or my own needs. It was also devastating because, instead of trying to fix it, my friend chose to dissolve the friendship.
This experience was liberating because recognizing behaviors that don’t work is an extraordinary wake up call. I got to learn new behaviors that allow me a more exuberant way of being. I also had to examine ways that I needed to improve my self care.
We often think of self care as how we take care of our physical body. While that’s extremely important, the self care of holding ourselves in high regard is invaluable. As I learn to love myself more fully, I'm better at seeing relationships and people who limit me. It’s opened me to recognizing the people who do love me and are committed to the sometimes messy process of working out conflicting emotional needs. As Antonio would say to me: address the things that aren’t working, then, who do you get to be?