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Self-Care Idea of the Week: Creating space for connection (and how opening our hearts to others helps support us as we hope to be more present in our lives).
For a few years now, I've been really blessed to have a circle of kindred spirits in my life. Women who value honesty and kindness. Who create space to listen and ask that I hold space for them in return. Who love me even when I don't show up as my best self, and who remind me who that best self is.
But it hasn't always been this way. In the past, I tried to convince myself that this deep connection was supposed to look like something really specific, such as a group of women who all know each other and meet up a few times a year or even once a month. I tried to imagine a "ya-ya sisterhood" of sorts and wondered why I didn't have one or wasn't invited to be part of one. And I wondered why I wasn't finding this core group within my own community even though the reality is I spend most of my time with my family and I work from home.
But what I've learned is that connection is more about keeping my heart open and noticing when I feel deeply seen by another person. It is less about thinking I need a group of women who all know each other to become my go-to people for the rest of my life. And it is more about realizing that friendships ebb and flow and that I only feel connection when I actually try to connect with an open heart, even when this feels like a risk, perhaps especially when it does.
In my case, even though I'd been thinking about, talking about, wishing for more connection (with new friends, with people in my community, with entrepreneurs with similar experiences to me), I believe that I began to find it only when my heart opened to all the vulnerability that connection might mean. This means tending to the incredible friends I already have and letting them know how important their friendships are to me. This means holding space for all the past hurts and deciding to stay open anyway. This means making the choice to show up as me and set aside the person I think someone wants me to be. And this means continually recognizing all the gremlins that come up, especially when reaching out for new connection. Gremlins like:
- I might be rejected.
- I might say something silly when trying to actually say, "Want to get coffee sometime?"
- I might seem too eager.
- I might not be cool enough.
- I might not have the right clothes.
- I might over share.
- And how the list goes on and on.
When we open our hearts to this connection, we realize we don't have to go it alone. We let love in. And letting love in might just be the most important thing we say YES to.
This week: What one brave move could you make toward connection today? Take a few moments to really think about this one. Is there someone in your life who you've been meaning to reach out to with gratitude? Someone who you know is having a hard time who might need someone to say, "How's it going over there?" and then really listen? Do you need to ask for support? Imagine letting someone know that you just need her to listen to you today. Let yourself move toward connection.
Mantra: As you work with this practice of opening up to connection, here are some mantra ideas for you:
- I choose to keep my heart open.
- I can be brave and afraid.
- Listen with your heart open.
- Trust that yes inside you.
And a few other self-care ideas for you.