As I reach for the phone, my throat tightens around the lump that developed while I dialed the numbers. Why do I fall apart when I am so close to comfort?
I am having one of those days when my insecurities flare and my emotions swirl and I don’t know where it’s coming from or what to do about it. So I do what I never want to do: reach out for help.
Vulnerablity. Showing my weakness to another person. Letting someone see I am fragile just like everyone else.
How do we become safe people for one another? To show this side when all we want to do is hide?
Becoming a safe person for another human being is no small task.
Not safe as in someone who will put up with me, but safe as in the person I might dare to show up on the doorstep in a crying, heaping mess of humanity.
There is a process involved. Trust must be built. Over time. Honesty and gentleness must coexist in the best possible way. I have to know you are absolutely FOR me. And I, like most humans, have a pre-existing condition that tells me no one is for me. To work oneself beyond that requires much.
Listening. Real, true, bonafide this-is-about-you-and-not-about-me listening must be present. Listening to the words but listening for the heart.
Acceptance. Take me as I am. Period. Not “as-long-as-my-taking-you-as-you-are-turns-you-into-who-I-want-you-to-be”. Just okay to be me. Broken and confusing me.
Compassion. See me. See my hurt. See my pain. Don’t rush so quickly to fix me because this isn’t about your great abilities to fix. This is about you seeing me and all I am holding and all that I carry with me.
And boundaries. There is something incredibly comforting in knowing you can take care of yourself and say no to me when you need to. That I will not obliterate you with my need.
Surely this list is not complete, but still I wonder….how much do I offer these things to other people? To my friends? To my children? To my husband? To myself?
No human being can do this perfectly. But can we do it well enough……to make a difference…..for even just one? Isn’t it worth the effort to try?
*Honor to all who risked and sacrificed eleven years ago today to rescue to safety the people of this country. Words are not enough.*