One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how lonely we all are.
We are on our devices. On social media. On our phones, iPads. Some people even have landlines, I’ve heard.
It seems that we are all in these situations of trying desperately to connect with others. To know we matter. To be seen.
And yet the more we try, the lonelier we feel.
Some of us just give up. We throw our hands in the air and say, “Screw it. I can’t do it anymore.”
We take refuge in substitutes for real connection.
We post images on social media of our idealized self-image (you know, the ones taken at the best angle and in the best light so that your newly found wrinkles don’t show and your second chin is well camouflaged?). We talk to our partners about the historic political speech on the television rather than how hurt we feel that we aren’t truly seen by them anymore. We play nice at work even though we see people doing things that violate our standards of ethics, decency and dignity. We ignore it when a loved one comments about another woman’s looks and feel ashamed at our own lack of courage to say no to the objectification of women of any size, age, race or color.
Yes, in so many ways, we sacrifice our desire for true, authentic connection and settle for the saccharine after-taste left by these transactional interactions, masking as relationships.
Recently, a beloved client of mine, blew me away when she was faced with such a situation. I was so deeply humbled to be a witness to a sacred act of courage she shared with me.
Rather than keeping quiet and accepting the status quo, lashing out in attack or running to substitutes of connection, she did something most of us rarely do unless we are extremely spiritually fit.
She made a million dollar gamble. And paid a heavy price of letting go of her ego, the part that always wants to protect and defend against the things like love and connection we know we crave the most.
And with a knot in her stomach and faith in her heart she performed the single most important act one can ever do to create a meaningful and authentic relationship with another human being: she took a risk and spoke her truth.
Not the truth he might have wanted to hear.
Not the truth that it would have been easy to share.
Not the truth that would have kept her tightly-managed self-image intact.
But the truth that came from the depths of her soul. That most vulnerable and sacred part of herself as a spiritual being was shared with another person: her truth.
And by taking that risk, not only did a remarkably positive thing happen in the dynamic of her relationship with her partner, but something different happened deep inside of her.
Building a massively fulfilling life isn’t about what other people do or how they respond. It’s about how we show up, honor and live our own values. By speaking up in service of her authentic values, she created an enormous boost to her own self-esteem. And from that place of truly authentic power, anything that comes to us from the outside – affection, approval, validation, love – is simply a bonus. It’s nice to have, but isn’t what makes all the difference.
It’s choosing the road less travelled which does.