“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts or happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.” ~ Mark Twain
The other day I had a face down in the arena moment. A friend didn’t “like” a post I’d written. I felt hurt and the story I told myself was that the person is unable to celebrate my joy – despite ample evidence to the contrary.
Instead of sitting with the discomfort, I took a one-up position and formulated a less-than-awesome plan of self-righteous blaming to counter the bitterness I was experiencing. Like most forms of distraction, the relief was short-lived. That’s because when we disengage from difficulty the feelings don’t go away. They wait.
The saving grace of welcoming hard feelings is curiosity. So when the hurt returned, I put on my big girl pants and found the courage to ask why. Why does this bother me? Why can’t I let it go? What’s this really about? And why isn’t there any chocolate in the house?
In Rising Strong, Brené Brown says “choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty.” She’s right, of course. Instead of opening my heart to the unknown, I closed down which left no room for resolution or healing – only pain.
With that realization, I was able to dig deeper and ask the tough questions. In doing so I found compassion and understanding for my friend and myself. Had I followed my initial grandiose reaction, the ending would have been quite different. Whew.
We are story-full beings. Understanding the (not always accurate) stories we tell ourselves is one of our tasks in life. Doing so leads to greater connection and intimacy, which is why we are here. But it takes buckets of vulnerability, which is why we avoid it. The work is hard, but worth it because we feel most alive when tell our true story.