When you think the absolute worst thing to happen to you has already happened, yet another curved ball comes from left field and totally blind sides you.
In my current emotionally exhausted melancholic state I look back over my nearly 60 years and can readily recall some of the largest curved balls that have smashed into me. In amongst them smaller balls which hit with slightly less aggressive force and their bruises are sometimes not terribly visible until a trigger prompts their memory.
These balls have battered and bruised me. Some have near killed me. But I have always picked myself up, reached down, picked up the ball and run with it. Trying to run with the weight of these balls adding up over the years have resulted in a medical diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.
In recent times I’ve been pitched some huge balls that have hit me fair in the gut. Smashed the wind clean out of me. Left me wondering how on earth I can carry on.
But I did, and I do. My natural instinct has been to recoil inwards, hold my pain, cradle it tight like a precious child, protecting it, kicking out at anyone who dares to come near, fighting, fighting, fighting for……. fighting for what?
Fighting to protect my vulnerability. Fighting to prevent more hurt, more pain. Because after all, if you don’t allow anyone in then you can’t get hurt again. Right?
Brené Brown taught me that by exposing my vulnerability I gain strength.
By exposing my desperate needs, my hurts, my pain, learning to trust, I slowly rebuild my village.
When those massive curved balls smash into you they break the protective walls that surrounded you, they don’t just batter you but they send your village scattering. Leaving only one or two of your tribe behind if you’re lucky.
It is then you make your choices. Run and hide, head for the hills, curl up in a ball, stay alone, protect yourself….
or reach out, find empathy, build strength, learn to trust, abandon shame, tell your story,
It takes a while to rebuild, to create a new village, foundation bricks are tested, ones who prove to be trustworthy and strong are added to the new foundations, the ones who are not are cast aside. You tentatively reach out, test the waters, learn who to trust, each brick in place adds more strength. A new village is constructed. Your new tribe rises to surround and support you. A tribe that is prepared to cover your back, to stand alongside, to encourage, empower, support, and no matter what, love you no matter what.
A tribe you can stand sweaty, strong & bloodied in the arena with – a tribe who will dare greatly with you!
“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.”
Teddy Roosevelt 1910