Even after (nearly) ten years of writing here, the generosity and kindness offered by you dear reader, feels bloody amazing! I’ve been mulling over the deluge of messages, ‘me toos’, ideas, suggestions and virtual hugs for how to shift out of The Funk of the Lonely Extrovert.
And I’m also trying to live what I suggest to coaching clients:
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to solve problems,
even especially when it feels uncomfortable.
If like me, your approach to any problem involves rolling up your sleeves and getting on with fixing it, you might find that this is a mighty useful way of avoiding discomfort. But it can also rob us of really understanding, learning and growing from the actual cause of the aforementioned problem.
You may also find yourself adopting a ‘scattergun’ approach to the fixing, which is certainly more exhausting than just being curious about your experience.
It always feels like being in pain is wrong. I don’t buy that.
Sadness, anger, fear, doubt, worry: these are not signs of anything other than that you are a human who is currently alive.
These emotions are all invitations to poke around inside the pain, hold it up to the light, see what’s made of. Question it, be interested in it.
And dude, this work is not for the faint-hearted. I spent decades avoiding anything that felt remotely shitty; it cost me love and friendship, much cash, the memory of at least a dozen nights and a big dollop of pride.
Now, I try to be braver. And sitting in the muck, getting to know it while trying not to judge or fix it, is still the thing I find most tricky.
Here’s what I am learning about this particular problemo:
- I am hungry for real connection, rather than the company of other humans.
- I have a tonne of assumptions and prejudices about what connection ‘should’ look like.
- I have some resistance to getting out there, being open and available for connection.
- I am wary of being hurt by the Charming Narcissistic Energy Vampires masking as the Super-cool, Compassionate and Smart Humans (these folks are my kryptonite).
- There is also a pinch of anxiety that I will be too much (and therefore disliked, abandoned).
- It feels like old pain, old patterns, old stories. Yada yada yada.
- Leaning into all of this vulnerability makes me want to eat the house.
However, allowing this to bubble to the surface has been revealing and boring and powerful and annoying.
I don’t like it much. But it feels true.
There is always some acceptance and ease that comes from uncovering truth.
It feels like a softening, an unclenching somewhere in my belly. It’s easier to be a bit kinder to the tender parts of me. And I feel less urgency to finding a solution.
So. This is where I got to when something truly weird and slightly magic happened. I will be blogging about this experience very soon; it really deserves its own post!