Standing in the Wilderness

Stand in the WildernessBold. The word I chose for 2019 which I’m trying to live out. But… in a lot of instances I feel pretty squishy. I am open to a wide variety of perspectives, options. I steer clear of most issues many in the general population get fired up about. Rant about on their social media. It’s just not who I am.

For one, it rubs up against my peacemaking nature. My default is go along to get along. Granted, as I get older I have more opinions about a broader range of topics but given a choice I’ll keep it to myself. Squishy. I can see things both ways.

But…there are a few things. Chocolate, yes. Candy that sticks in your teeth, no. Tacos, yes. Liver, hell no! Ok, that’s easy stuff, but lest I offend you, I’ll hold my tongue on others (in and ode to my true Enneagram 9 self).

The other day I was thinking about the nature behind taking a stand and what has caused me to do so on a few key issues. Key in my life at least. I surprisingly discovered when I’m challenged on my view, I become stronger in my own conviction. I don’t waffle, I don’t change my mind. I get stronger.

The revelation surprised me, and I realized it only in hindsight. Through a recent difficult stretch in life, I was definitely challenged. Or maybe less challenged, more judged, for my perspectives. Which only caused me to feel stronger about my beliefs.

Why does that happen? We can go one of two ways when challenged. Either crumble, acquiesce, or we can take a stand. Stand for what we believe for that belief that it at the essence of who we are. What I experienced in real life was what Brené Brown describes in her book Braving the Wilderness. She writes about what people are most worried about, and in her research found:

“the idea of belonging that was most important, with many yearning to “be part of something–to experience real connection with others–but not at the cost of their authenticity, freedom or power.”

We all desire to belong and human nature often twists that into that tendency to get along for the sake of it. Which only leads to our own dissatisfaction. Brené goes on to say:

“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

For one of the first times, and perhaps the most important time, I’ve taken a stand. More than that, I’ve shifted how I show up in life, and what is ok for me and what’s not.

And I found myself in the wilderness.

In the relationship where I was bravely authentic, where I took a stand, the wilderness became my solace. There’s peace in the wilderness when you know that you have stood up for what you believe. Have quietly, but firmly, remained authentic in the face of opposition. Only in that place can you truly understand what it requires to have belonging that comes from your own self-acceptance. Belonging not dependent upon other’s approval.

Taking a stand for what you believe honors your authentic self. It’s tangible evidence to yourself that your opinion, your belief matters. Hold on to that. Risk braving the wilderness. You’re worth it.


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