Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been going through some stuff. If you’re a member of my community, or you follow me on social media, I’ve been pretty clear about my journey, and the impact it’s been having on how I typically show up in the world.
I’ll be honest: it’s been hard.
I’ve got family stuff, client stuff, I ran my group program for the first time, I’m working on my second book, had a public falling out with my mentor, and embarked on my own coaching program… all during a global health crisis and civil rights movement that have both carried a necessary energetic toll. So yeah, it’s been a lot. Some of this is personal choice stuff, but a lot of it is happening all around me, and as an empath and clairsentient, even upping my energy clearing game wasn’t always enough.
But I held strong. I kept showing up for my people, I scaled back some of my social presence, but overall, I’ve been managing.
Until I wasn’t.
I started retreating, and those closest to me knew something was going on and offered help. A lot. So much so that I thought I was doing ‘strong’ wrong and kept turning their help down, and honestly, not really knowing how to accept it. What did I need? How did I ask for it? Who could I ask? Why would they give it to me? SO MANY UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTIONS – all by the shadow self who knows that if I’m spiralling, I’m not moving forward… so this became the game.
After a few months of this, I finally said yes to a friend offering help, and spent a week at her place a few hours away from me. A mental health getaway where I expected I’d do a lot of working and writing but with some peace, but instead I did a lot of healing, and being, and listening to my guides, who decided it was the time to school me on strength and humility.
So here are some of the nuggets I took away from the experience. I’m sharing them in hopes that if you find yourself in a similar situation, they’ll help you change your perspective.
You’re expected to be strong.
When you’ve been fortified in fire, you become the go-to for people who are struggling with their own muck. You become the space holder, problem solver and sounding board, often times at your own expense. Because you’re known to be strong (and not just with your friends and family – you’ve bought into the propaganda yourself), you’re a safe place to land and offload – oftentimes without a quick check in of “hey, I’m going through some stuff, do you have the bandwidth to listen right now?”
If this is you, boundary work is KEY to avoiding burn out. As is managing your energy. (If you don’t have it already, make sure to download my free guide HERE to help you get started.) We are training people how to engage with us with every interaction, and when boundaries are new, we need to start re-training people.
When someone begins to offload when you’re not able to support them, your response can be as simple as, “It sounds like you’re having a hard time. I’m working through my own stuff, so I’m not going to be able to help, but I hope you’re feeling better soon.” This is going to feel weird at first, but the more you do it, the easier and more natural it will get.
Your parents’ failing wasn’t meant to seal your fate.
This was the first one that hit me in the gut. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did their best, but they had their shortcomings too. My mom was juggling 5 kids while on social assistance, living around crime and violence. My dad was an alcoholic, consumed by his own demons. It wasn’t easy, and being strong was how I survived. Especially moving out at 17, when there wasn’t a whole lot of room for not being able to get things done.
But somewhere I forgot to tell myself that I wasn’t in survival mode, so this “do everything on your own” stuff became my way of being. I kept being overly responsible, and pushing through any discomfort, instead of making space for myself, and my needs. I didn’t stop or slow down unless I literally couldn’t move forward (like severe illness, and my 2013 mental breakdown), because that’s how I got by. Somehow I’d allowed my parents’ shortcomings to decide how I was going to manage being strong and asking for help for the rest of my life – and it wasn’t until my guides brought through this message last week in a meditation (during a mental health retreat) that I’d even realized I’d done it.
Like everything though, you have choice. So once you see this pattern, no matter how deeply embedded it is, you can begin to take steps to change it. Now that I can see this, the asking for help is less of an issue for me than the knowing what help to ask for. People are more than happy to support me, so I’m re-learning how to let love in, how to delegate, and how to ask for more of what I need.
The Inner Compass Mapping Method™
In this free guide, I’m giving you my 3-step process to navigating life guided by your own inner compass. You’ll learn how to protect your energy, awaken your intuitive gifts, and work your light with clarity and confidence.
You’ve missed out on what strength really is.
We’ve somehow misconstrued the definition of strength, and entangled it with the energies of resilience, endurance, and perseverance. And while those things are strong for sure, so are things like vulnerability, humility, and willingness. By having this myopic view of what it means to be strong, we’re only learning half the lesson.
Oftentimes, pushing through is not the lesson, asking for help is. Sometimes it’s better to state your feelings instead of quietly holding back. And almost always, it’s better to honour your needs instead of martyring yourself for those around you – even if you’ve been taught that’s what “good girls” do.
It’s time we re-define ‘strong’ so we can embody all of its lessons, grow as people, and support each other through the process. This life stuff isn’t meant to be a solo, lonely journey – we’re better together, and that begins with letting each other in.
Which leads me to my next point…
You don’t have to do it alone.
If the relationship dynamics you find yourself in are one-sided (they’re always asking for help, you’re always enduring), then you need to shake things up or find new relationships. There is nothing special about constant self-sacrifice – it’s not a virtue, and you deserve to get what you give.
There will be different seasons to your relationships of course, where one of you will need the other more from time to time, but overall, surround yourself with people who can support you, give back, hold space and be a sounding board… so you can receive some of the love you’re gifting to those around you.
The safer it is for you to be exactly where you are (even if it’s a messy, uncomfortable, hard place), the easier it will be to move through emotions. When you’re always the one holding space, or when you’re having to mask what you’re going through so you can be there for everyone else, there isn’t a ton of room for you to work out what you’re experiencing… which drags the process out and makes everything harder. (Because frankly, it takes a lot of energy to show up for others when your own stuff is feeling like a shitshow.)
The right people will be honoured to support you. Find them – your life will be richer for it.
Somehow I’d allowed my parents’ shortcomings to decide how I was going to manage being strong and asking for help for the rest of my life
Here’s the thing: I’m not an expert on any of this.
It’s always been my way to teach what I learn because in my darkest times, I believed I was the only one going through what I was experiencing, but the light within me now knows that isn’t true. If even one person can open up their minds about what it means to be strong by reading this, where they can allow themselves to be held and supported and let love in… then it will all have been worthwhile.
With love and magic,