Brave Enough

Brave enoughI’m currently reading two books called Brave Enough.  One is a book of quotes by Cheryl Strayed and the other is  Nicole Unice and is a faith based book specifically for women. The focus of the later is on being just brave enough for what’s facing you now, and the book narrates how to do that. I love that idea that you don’t have to be Wonder Woman (although…she is the bomb), instead, you just have to be brave enough for what’s in front of you.

This week, I need to be brave enough for a situation which gave me the opportunity to show a great deal of compassion to a friend. It was a situation which could have gone one of two ways. Either I could have been stiff and unfeeling, or I could lean into it and show the compassion and care the situation deserved. I chose the later.

And later in the day, I was exhausted.

It’s interesting to me that allowing myself to show a lot of feelings can be so exhausting, to be honest. I wouldn’t call myself an unfeeling person, but I think I identify with emotion more than deep feelings. Sad = crying, happy = smiling, but feelings that touch my soul, geez man, can I take a pass? At least that used to be my go to.

But now it’s not. I’m finding that what I feel, I feel deeply. I hurt for other people and on the other side, I’m equally joyful for someone in the right situation. It makes me think about what flipped that switch in me. What shifted me from surface level or maybe a couple layers deeper to punch you in the gut level feelings?

I don’t have an answer.

I didn’t grow up in a family that talked much about feelings. It was often said, “Oh, there’s Lisa, crying again.” And I didn’t want to, didn’t desire to be that person. But I was. Over time, you find that it’s easy to stay at a high level. I don’t even know that I had the skills to describe what I was feeling in a lot of the time.

What I think about that is that it keeps feelings in the dark. It can make certain feelings, grief, despair, sadness, scary and seem unacceptable. That’s what happens when things are kept in the dark. They become like secrets. If no one knows you have those feelings, if you power on through, everything will be alright.

I’ve learned that’s far from the truth. Those feelings you hide? They don’t go away. They’re hidden in the darkness. The only way to move those feelings through your body is to be brave enough and actually let yourself feel. When you bring them into the light, you have the experience – yes, and sometimes it sucks – but they can’t stay dark anymore.

Darkness can’t make the darkness go away, only light can do that.

So that’s my authentic journey this week. I was brave enough. I had feelings and I let the light shine on them. Showing compassion, feeling with a friend who was feeling, it was a lot of work. I wouldn’t choose otherwise, but I was aware of it. And talking it about it here? Well that’s continuing to let the light shine on them. We all have deep feelings. When we share the collective lie that we don’t, that’s when the darkness wins.

I hope you’ll be brave enough to shine the light. Let it show on what’s inside you. Share those feelings with people you trust. That’s how light and love wins.

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