31 Days:: A Simple “Me Too”
Day 7: A Simple “Me Too”
I recognize it when I see it. When a woman I am talking to starts throwing morsels of vulnerability out there to see my reaction— Will I pounce on it in judgment? Or will I offer up my own morsel as well?
The other night, as a mom came to pick up her daughter from my house after a play date our daughters had been having, I saw it. Because I do it too, you can bet I noticed when she tentatively and disguisedly mentioned a little something here, a little something there… She was fishing around to see if I was a safe place and whether or not I could relate to her burdens.
And I could.
Believe me, friend: I, too, understand what it feels like to be overstimulated by noise and people. I, too, love the peaceful, quiet spaces. I love the solitude I get on a cool morning’s hike. I love when hubby works late so that I can enjoy the quiet of the house when everyone else is asleep and I get to read or type away to my heart’s content. I love a silent drive down a country road, with a cool breeze rushing through the window to refresh me. And I, too, understand what it feels like when these quiet, solitary places are hard to find. I, too, feel the anxiety rising. That busy, trembling feeling that tries to come up through my gut into my brain to overpower me.
Although I love people and I wholeheartedly cherish hearing others’ stories and getting to know the why and the how of who they are… I also know what it is like to feel depleted. Peopled out. At my max.
I am so grateful that my fellow mom dared to open up about her struggles with overstimulation and anxiety that night. It confirmed once again that I am not alone. There are others like me.
By the time she left that night, after an ice cream bar and a good heart-to-heart over my cluttered, sticky kitchen counter, she and I were each encouraged to keep on searching for our quiet spaces and silent slices of time so that we could maintain our sanity.
It was an extraordinary, ordinary conversation. Like so many others we have the potential to engage in every single day.
Surfacy, empty conversations don’t have to stay that way— it’s okay to throw out hints of vulnerability here and there to see if the person you’re talking to is interested in more depth. Some of my most beautiful connections with people have been born out of times like the one that occurred the other night. Times when one of the members of the conversation was bold enough to step out in courage and share a personal challenge; times when one of us dared to test the waters to see if the other person was up for a deeper conversation.
Those encounters birth affirmation. They birth true connection. A simple “me too” has the potential to bring such healing.
It has to me countless times.
Because honestly? Just the knowing that I’m not alone in my hurts or insecurities or challenges? Just that knowing is sometimes exactly what I need to give me hope to keep plugging along.
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What about you?
Can you remember a time when someone dared to share a personal struggle with you? If you “took the bait,” did your reciprocation of their struggle lead to any new self-discoveries or a new sense of normalcy and/or affirmation in either of your hearts?
Please feel free to share your journey in the comment section below.