A friend of mine recently went through a hard time.
I reached out to her, expecting to be waved away amongst a flurry of “I’m fine” and “Don’t worry about it.”
That’s not what she did. She allowed me to sit with her while she cried. She let me hold her hand and rub her back, even though there was absolutely nothing that I could do to fix the situation.
But the fact that she let me sit with her was such a kindness – to me. I knew I couldn’t make it all better, but simply allowing the connection between us was good for us both.
Her willingness to accept my compassion and love was one of the most beautiful displays of strength I have seen in a really long time.
We talk a lot about giving compassion but we forget about how important it is to receive it.
How many times have I denied someone who was trying to help me? How many times have I pretended that I wasn’t crying and that I was okay when clearly – I was not? How many times have I refused a favor and rejected a complement or generous word? How many times have I shut down love that someone was trying to show me?
Many, many times. Because I thought it would make me look weak.
I think that people are so focused on being independent and self-sufficient that we assume any kind of acceptance of compassion means that we are lacking in emotional strength. But that’s so wrong.
It’s easy to shut down and be impermeable and say you are fine when you know it’s a lie. That’s the cop-out. The real power is in letting people in.
So next time you are struggling, in the yoga studio, at home, at work, be open to people who are reaching out to you. I bet they’ll be there for you. And if you look around and you don’t see anyone there – write to me.
Peace, peace, peace.
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