*From time to time, I post up an opportunity for Instagram followers to submit questions they’d like me to answer. Here’s sharing one of them.
Thanks for sharing. This must be so hard to ask, and I’m glad you asked it.
I’m an introvert and my coping mechanism when im struggling like in this season is to want to disappear. So I feel you.
Leaning into community is hard because it requires vulnerability. And vulnerability can be scary because it poses the likelihood of getting hurt.
What if they don’t understand? What if they ask something triggering? What if i feel worse? I don’t like it when people over-ask. I don’t like it when they correct my theology when I’m in pain.
There’s a lot to be offended and hurt by when you’re already in pain. But here’s what I learned…
- Just as much as I’d love to be judged with the most generous of intentions, I try to give others my most generous interpretation too – that they care.
- On a practical note, I experiment and set boundaries. For e.g. my comfort level this season is meeting people I feel safe with one-on-one.
- To those I feel safe with, I give myself permission to ask for what could be helpful. Because I noticed how much I disliked people over-asking, I sent a note to close friends delineating what I’d appreciate and what I wouldn’t. This kind of note isn’t to be sent to everyone. But I hope it’ll give you courage to say yes to letting safe people into your life.
Here’s an example of a text I sent someone:
“Thank you so much for wanting to support and meet with me. Would you feel comfortable if I didn’t answer medical questions about my diagnosis?
I think what surprised me was how people’s questioning of the medical bits of my diagnosis affected me – maybe it’s a bit of reliving the trauma, how I don’t have the answers myself and how I felt judged when suggestions about the cause of my condition were made without medical basis.
Thank you for being present for me and making time for me, I really appreciate it and look forward to our time together.”
Thank them for making time for you. Make your ask clearly and kindly. In Brene Brown’s words, to be unclear is to be unkind. Don’t expect others to read your mind and know what you need, then get offended by them.
Try it. You might be surprised by how others might be willing to love on you. I know I was surprised in the best possible ways.