Daring greatly. Lessons from the road.
I’ll be honest, today my heart isn’t singing and I’ve lost my spunk…temporarily, of course! I’m working through some tough emotional stuff hitting all at once, and much of it by design. Yep, I am in the process of “daring greatly” in several areas of my life — most notably in love, business, and by tackling a very personal big and scary goal.
Rather than a succinct blog with a point, what follows is an outpouring of raw emotion and random thoughts about what it means to live wholeheartedly — putting yourself out there in passionate pursuit of your dreams and feeling vulnerable in the process. This blog is about trusting that process even if — and especially when — we can’t see the light. When we’re in the arena getting our ass kicked (as Brene Brown would say). When things don’t go the way we want, and the immediate outcomes are far from what we desired.
Yep, I am the definition of daring greatly. And if you asked me this week, I wouldn’t call it great. Or fun, comfortable or enjoyable. Nope, right now, it doesn’t feel good. And part of me wonders, “What the hell am I doing with all this daring greatly nonsense?! Whose dumb idea was this?”
So, I write through it. For me. And maybe for you.
Sometimes when you take a risk, enter the arena and offer your most authentic and vulnerable self to the world, it works out in the moment. You get what you want…even more than imagined. You get closer to someone or something special. You find your true self. You achieve something totally amazing. You learn about yourself…grow. When this happens, you wonder why you waited so long to go for it. I’ve had plenty of these moments in the last couple of years. Instances where I thought: “Wow, this daring greatly thing is pretty cool. Why don’t I do this more often?!”
Well, this time, that didn’t happen. Not yet. Because the truth is, when you dare greatly (especially in matters of the heart) you expose yourself to great emotional risk. Sometimes things don’t work out as you hoped. Human emotion and relationships are messy and complicated. It takes two to come together in a mutually beneficial place, at the same time, wanting the same things.
Sometimes, like I just experienced, you expose yourself in raw vulnerability, follow your heart, and end up getting disappointed. Sometimes your heart breaks in unexpected and surprising ways. And even though you believe in the deepest part of you that something is right — well, the universe has other plans.
So this week, I am practicing letting go. Being open to what’s on the other side. I am determined NOT to surrender to the temptation to throw in the towel on daring greatly. But instead to focus on the beauty of finding the courage to follow my heart and risk it emotionally. I am grateful for the lessons learned and all the gifts received from being connected. And I am trusting in what I know to be true — that the real gift is on the other side. I am trusting that eventually – perhaps not on my timeline – it will reveal itself. And when it does my heart will be open and I’ll be ready to dare greatly, again.
Today, however, I am waiting for my heart and my bright spark to catch up with this logic. I am honoring my feelings in the moment. Caring for and feeding my heart, while digging deep to find the patience to see what’s on the other side. Finally, I am resisting the urge to make it about me…about my self-worth as the “old” Lori would so easily have done. And I am taking it one moment, one day at a time. It’s not a graceful process, but I am forgiving myself for that, too.
Not all it’s cracked up to be?!
The truth is, when you live wholeheartedly, you have no choice but to be authentic and follow your heart to your deepest desires. This is what it means to live from a foundation of happiness. And that’s what I do. So by it’s very nature, this means, being authentic and taking risks. Sometimes it means being exposed and vulnerable with another person.
I’m doing this in multiple areas of my life all at once, cause that’s how I roll — by going 100% all in! While my immediate record of success is not high, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have no regrets.
Tips from the road.
- It’s okay to not be strong all of the time. To lean in and let yourself feel sad, disappointed, and hurt. It’s okay to grieve, cry, be in the moment with those messy emotions. It’s okay, and I would argue – necessary.
- Force yourself to eat and sleep, even when you don’t feel like it. It matters.
- Have faith. Hang on to the fact that if it is meant to be, it will be. It’s time to let go and trust.
- Honor your hurt and disappointment. Sit in it. Wallow if you need to (for a time) and really, really feel it. Then move on.
- It’s okay if your process is not graceful or pretty. It’s real. It’s what you need. Give up the expectations and let it be.
- Listening to love songs about lost love – may not be a good idea. But cranking Missy Higgins’ Unashamed Desire, Temporary Love and Everyone’s Waiting – that’s a good idea. Missy’s my girl right now.
- Drink lots of water. Even when your stomach is upset, your head hurts and you don’t want to. It helps.
- Buy yourself flowers. Every day.
- Isolate when you need to be alone.
- Surround yourself with those who can be there with you as you sit in your pain, AND with those who can remind you of the reality and the cracks you painted over. Those who know when to sit and when it is time to encourage you to get up, dust yourself off and kick some ass again. Those are your real friends.
- The spoon in the freezer trick still works great for swollen, teary eyes. Thanks Mom.
- Learn to box. Hitting stuff in a healthy way (boxing) releases a lot of emotional pain and is great cardio. I love it!
- Resist the urge to surround yourself with those who have proven they can’t be there for you in times of emotional pain or stress. It only makes it worse.
- Appreciate what you learned from the situation and the experience, take it all in. Allow every lesson to wash over you. There is great beauty in this.
- Keep an extra box of Kleenex in your car, and your office.
- Let go. Learn to give up control of the situation. You can’t control what someone else thinks, does, or wants. You can only control how you react, hold and process it.
- Wearing the same clothes two days in a row when you are sad is okay.
- Know that you won’t be as productive at work when your heart is broken. Factor that in. Give yourself a break.
- Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Do NOT do what the other person wants you to do. Put yourself and your emotional needs first.
- Look for the positive from the situation as you prepare to move on.
- Let go. It’s time.
- As difficult as it is, don’t internalize and make it about a defect in you. You are beautiful. You are totally awesome. You deserve and will find a true champion.
- Try not to turn your emotions off or stick them in a compartment to never be seen again. The real learning is to live through the emotional hurt, disappointment and pain; feel what you need to feel to get to the other side. But DO cross over to the other side. Compartmentalizing might work in the short term but the drawer will come tumbling open some day. Feel, process, then move on. This is the way through.
- Restart. When you are ready. Restart. This is key and you know the way.
- Oh, and don’t get more emotionally connected when something is ending. Only me! 😉
“Our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be brokenhearted.” -Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle
Read my related blogs of late on daring greatly:
Editor’s Note: For those of you that don’t know the term daring greatly, it comes from the work of Brene Brown, shame researcher and storyteller. Brene is also the author of three awesome books: the New York Times Best Seller, Daring Greatly, the Gifts of Imperfection, and I Thought it Was Just Me. Brene is awesome. Her work has informed my writing and helped me articulate my internal transformation in ways that I hope help others understand. If you don’t know of her work, please check it out here, including her awesome Ted Talks. And, if you have a chance to hear her speak, go!
The title of the book, Daring Greatly, comes from the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote, The Man in the Arena:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.