I originally wrote this post in 2015 — isn’t it funny how, when you read old posts, you can be instantly transported back to that time in your life? When I wrote this, I was stressed out, burned out, and at the end of my rapidly fraying rope. I felt like things were falling apart and I was disappointed in many areas of my life.
Recently I began reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and I am hooked! Though there is some science lingo, this book is mostly filled with stories I find myself getting lost in. Today I read a chapter about community, which surprised me; I wouldn’t have immediately thought that community and habit go hand in hand, but it does make a lot of sense. Duhigg discusses the success of the program Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in helping people beat their addiction. When talking about the group’s shared experience he writes “…it lets people practice believing that things will eventually get better, until things actually do.”
I experienced this the other day. I had a terrible day at work and came home ready to throw in the towel, cut ties, and run away. After all, I am great at running away. I spoke to a friend about how I was feeling, she heard me, and then gave me space to process alone. A few hours later she checked on me and was able to give me something I couldn’t give myself: hope.
I have a tendency to narrow my focus during hard times. My focus centers on the problem at hand, the obvious failure, and the things that aren’t the way I want them to be. I become miopic, losing sight of the big picture, so I continue believing things will only get worse. That’s when I take my “woe is me” hat out of the closet and throw my own personal pity party.
But that’s where community comes in. These are the people who are available to listen to you when you need and expand your thinking when you get too narrow. They are the ones who give you hope and they share their own experiences and stories so you can look forward to the things ahead. Something powerful happens when someone comes alongside you and says “I’ve been there, it does get better, and I’ll be here with you until it does.”
Are you feeling disappointed today? If so, that’s okay, it happens. I encourage you to reach out to a trusted person in your community so you don’t have to carry that burden alone.
Do you know someone who’s feeling hopeless? Reach out to them in some way today. Love them, encourage them, but more than anything, just be with them. It’s amazing how simply being with someone can make all the difference.
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