I've been thinking a lot this year about surrender. I think it started in the summer when I felt maxed out stress-wise. Everything felt like it was slipping through my fingers in spite of my white-knuckling.
White-knuckling, I realized later, was not the issue per se, but it was definitely a bright red flag signalling to me that things were off. That I was struggling so hard to keep these pieces in place because, in reality, they didn't fit.
I've written a ton on here about my romantic life this past year, because I've been through the ringer, I feel, in that department in the last twelve months. Not because, as I've said many times, those humans were horrible. They weren't at all. But they weren't right. Or, at least, in the case of the first, we weren't right. And, in the case of the second, timing wasn't right.
So, yes, I've talked a lot about my romantic life. But here, in this post, I don't actually mean to refer to purely that slice. When I say "things were off," I mean work was off, my relationships were off, and, ultimately, my self-perception was off. That was, at the core, the main thing. The way I viewed myself.
Some of you may remember. I was doing a lot of chatting with folks online about the idea of judgement, of self-judgement this summer. Because I felt like I was choking myself with my own. I had (have) all these dreams, but then there was this as-hole version of myself sitting on my shoulders telling me I was being so stupid, telling me, "Who do you think you are?"
I've tried to figure out what's changed since then. Because, of course, I'm still scared, often, of all that I want to do. And earlier this year, too, I had many people in my life on board.
What I've come to is the support has gotten stronger, thanks to a conscious reorganizing of my inner circle.
People have always affected me. I'm porous. I feel others' emotions often more intensely than my own. And, because of that, I am prone to people-pleasing.
Years ago I wiped out my social circle and started from scratch when the effects of my people-pleasing left me dazed and confused in a crowd of people that I couldn't hold a conversation with.
I didn't need to be that dramatic this time. But I did need to make some tweaks. The honest truth is I needed to do some plucking. As I said, I had many people in my life. That's because I'd met so many wonderful souls in the past while... so many that I'd just wanted to hug, be close with.
It came from a good place. I was so grateful to have met them. But, unfortunately, I didn't realize I was wearing myself out trying my best to be there for so many people, too many people (and forgetting how to let my closests be there for me). I was putting others before myself out of love, but then blocking it from pouring back inward.
(Part of it was probably ego, to be sure. It's easier to be there for others than to be vulnerable. But that's a whole other post.)
I wasn't nurturing the relationships with those closest enough. And it's only those that are closest that I'll ever really feel nourished by. So, in a way, I diluted my most soulful relationships in a sea of secondary relationships, to my own detriment.
Choosing this Fall to be extraordinarily mindful of the very closest of people in my life was a game changer. And by close I mean the few people I talk to at least 3 of the 7 days a week, every week. That is ~5 people, no more.
I remember telling someone about this in September. He thought it was harsh to talk about people in terms of priorities. I told him it was honest. We all have priorities, after all. Just most people don't talk about what (or who) theirs are. That is one thing I credit the last boy to. His priority was himself, in the end, over us. And I respected that level of honesty. What's more, understanding the details of why he prioritized himself... Well, it made me agree with him, in spite of the sting, because I only ever wanted him to be happy.
And that's the thing. When we open ourselves, when we communicate what's going on to others, we make it about us versus them.
(It is the proper way to do, "It's not you. It's me." Funny, yes, but seriously, too.)
This takes time to sink into. This river of open communication. I'm not there yet. I'm just trying my best to submerge in it until it becomes home.
It's worth any uncomfortability, if you were wondering. People relate to where you're coming from when you're honest. They don't get bitchy and try to fight you. They just get it. (If they don't, sorry but adios.) And this leaves the waters clear. There's no muddled mess. There are no silent questions or invisible digruntled feelings slowly simmering.
What happens is some relationships get stronger, while others fade, while still some more end. It may be personal, but it doesn't have to be taken in a negative light. It isn't mean. It's healthy.
So, yes, I believe looking to one's closest knit group of friends is crucial when it comes to moving through life in a state of ease, versus my summer state of white knuckling. Because those beautiful, irreplaceable friends? They'll do what that army of quasi-friends couldn't.
They'll create a safe space for you to share as they listen. They'll speak to you with compassion, but sans sugar-coating. They'll support you in a rich, meaningful way, because the connection is deep.
The way it feels...
It's like this. They'll give you more air to breathe. So that you can unclench wound fists, so that you can surrender...
And just be.