A few months ago I made a goal to expand my community. This doesn't just include the people in my actually community but to expand the people I have connections with in my life. I feel that blogging is a way to expand my community and so I love it and choose to keep my blog public. I am aware that though online relationships can be really beneficial I would like human interaction and for me the more the better.
I have been reading this blog by Brene Brown and reading her books. Have you seen her TED talk. You should. I know it is 20 minutes but it really changed my life. Please take the time.
Anyways, I also enrolled in her online class about Whole Hearted Living and Vulnerability. It basically dives deeper into her research and how to live whole hearted and put her research and discoveries into action.
I love it. I signed up so that it would help me through some hard things I am going through and it really has helped.
I have learned so much.
Today I listened to an audio about expanding your community.
There are some people that think that when someone is going through hard times you should act a certain way, be at a certain level of depression, close people out of your life and hide. It is very rare that I act this way. When I go through hard times my best defense is to get out in the sunshine and move and do. It is a way to escape and put things into perspective and see them in the light. Although it is impossible to fully escape problems until they have been dealt with it is not wrong to deal with your problems at only certain times of your day and not let everyone around you know what problems you have.
Work is a great escape for me. I am able to leave my problems at the door and dive into my work and be busy. When I leave I know my problems are waiting for me but I feel strengthened and revitalized to deal with them.
Now back to the community thing. Often times people feel it is a sign of weakness to ask for help and especially as women we have to go, go , go and be perfect and have everything together. I have learned that asking for help is a power move. Perfection is impossible, did you know that? That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to be good at things and do your best but when you try to achieve perfection you will ALWAYS fail. ALWAYS! Perfection is impossible! In the blogging community we all get these small windows into each others lives but we all want to put our best foot forward and not share the imperfections. So what? We want this false sense of perfection so when people actually meet us they are disappointed and surprised and judgemental?
The best connections we have are those with people who know us as our vulnerable selves and love us.
So your friend that you trust to come in your messy house and you know she won't judge you is someone you have a real bond with. The person that you call because you have just done something you feel is so stupid and you will get an empathetic ear is someone you really trust and feel connected to.
There usually cannot just be one person to fill this role. I have different people I would call in different instances. When I feel really stupid and ashamed I call my sister Natalie to tell her the story and laugh about it. I know she will be empathetic and let me know it is not that bad. When I am all stressed out about my health or vitamins or organic things I call Teresa because she has the know all on hormones, cycles, poo and the natural stuff that I love. And when I want to talk about my deep personal problems there are a select few people I can count on to help me see things in a proper light and give me strength.
Here are some ways you can expand your community:
Be honest with people, let them see your vulnerabilities and be OK with it. I.E.: let people see your messy house, who cares, every one's house gets messy, you are most likely not going to be on the next Buried Alive show.
Ask people when you need help. People love to help others when given the opportunity but it is hard to make someone let you help them and it can be awkward to assume someone needs help. (Don't you love it when your mom calls and says she will take the kids for a day and you didn't even ask? Well, only your mom will do that so ask people for help already!!!)
Be brave and invite someone out. Spend some time with someone and you will actually get to know them and start a relationship. You won't be able to build your community if you won't actually work at it and spend time with people. Also accept invitations from people. Yes, it is scary to go out with people you don't know but do it and enjoy yourself.
Lastly, if we want to be accepted as we are with all of our vulnerabilities we need to be accepting of others. Be aware when someone is going out on a limb and sharing their vulnerabilities with you. Don't let them fall, it can be shaming and horrible.
P.S. Are you left wondering how you know if you have a true close connection with someone? My theory is if you can talk about your poo then you are close and if you can fart around them and warn them to stay away from the fart vicinity you are close. If you are around someone and you fart and it really stinks and you pretend it wasn't you then you are not that close with that person.
One thing that makes me feel vulnerable is bad pictures of myself. I don't know why. I am aware I don't actually look like that but whatever. Who actually likes bad pictures of themselves?
So to connect with you all I am going to share a really bad picture that Eva took of me.
It is actually a bit freaky. Are my eyes actually that big?