self-discovery

Letting others in

I recently shared with you, dear friend, about Liz Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons.

Another podcast I regularly tune into and get so much from is called Dear Sugar Radiodear-sugarIt’s such a wonderful podcast, a radio advice column if you will, and I get so much out of listening to it.

In their most recent show, live in Cambridge, they had a guest who shared how, in their opinion, the best thing we can do to form a deep friendships is to ask for help, to need something from the other person. A favour, a listening ear, a little bit of support.

These words have stuck in my mind and left me with a feeling akin to having something caught in my throat. I’ve learnt from prior experience that this is a sign to push further, to question deeper and see what the discomfort is all about.

I think these words have struck me so heavily because I’m not used to reaching out to other people. I’ve shuffled a little bit along my journey through writing this blog and sharing the inner workings of my heart and mind with you, dear friend, but often feel I am unable to take the next step in reaching out for help in person.

An example of this has been playing on  my mind recently and I’d like to share it with you here.

A friend of mine is so kind in supporting me by reading this blog. When we’re in contact she’ll always ask about my writing and often asks me if I’m ok – especially if I’ve shared something heavy or difficult in this special online space of mine. When she asks me if I’m ok, I usually respond saying ‘I’m fine’.

Part of this is because I truly am ok. Sharing these experiences with you online are only part of what I live through and, however painful these experiences are, they don’t fully define me or leave me broken. But still, I’ve felt uncomfortable with my answer to her question and I’ve been wondering following the dear sugar podcast whether my response of ‘I’m fine’ has been because that’s the truth or because I’m uncomfortable reaching out.

Does this make sense at all?!

I find it hard to share of myself, yet the closest friendships and relationships I’ve got in my life are those forged through reaching out and saying “I need you“.

My friends from university who stood by me as best they could when I was in the grips of an eating disorder, my closest friends who have been there for me in periods of sadness and difficulty, my family who have supported me both financially and emotionally through my life.

And the truth is that I enjoy and get great feeling of worthiness from feeling needed by other people too – work colleagues sharing bits of themselves with me, the warmth of doing a favour for a friend, holding a door open for a stranger. Could it be that I’m depriving people from opportunities to feel those same feelings through acting like I’m an island, like I’m completely self-sufficient?

One thing is sure, I want to let others in, I want to let you in.

And so perhaps next time someone says ‘I’ve read your blog, are you ok?’, I’ll try to share just a little bit more of myself and reach out to that person than I would have before. I’ll risk letting people in just a little bit more.

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