A situation in my personal life recently took a devastating and upsetting turn. I had the very intense and human urge to sit in a corner and cry and whinge that life isn’t fair and woe is me and wait for someone to come along and fix the yucky.
Unless you’re courting a superhero or have a knight in shining armour tucked up your sleeve, most of us will need to rescue ourselves. Once we are done mourning/healing/sooking we do need to get up. We do need to brush ourselves off and set our boots back on the trail.
Being rescued stunts our resilience and capacity to learn, grow and change. Your superhero or knight in shining armour is robbing you of an opportunity to catch your own balance, to find your feet and backbone. Your knight in shining armour prevents you from learning the skills required to get yourself back up when you fall flat on your ass. Your knight is also very likely, with the very best of intentions, to toss you over the saddle of their horse and take you to their happy ever after — not necessarily your own.
No one knows you and what you need and what you’re working to become better than you do. Do not surrender that power to other people!
When we feel attacked or injured, retreating to a place where we feel secure and safe is a very human reaction. We take a step back into the familiar and comforting. We may have wounds we need to tend, or we may need reassurance and healing, rest and recovery. We need to catch our bearings and balance, then step back out there. Life will continue to throw unexpected upsets our way. We cannot fall into a pattern of hiding or retreat, or sit in a puddle of self-pity in the corner whining that things aren’t fair.
In a world of screens and travel and education there are so many opportunities to open our world to new people, new ideas and new perspectives. Tomorrow is a whole new day. If stepping back out there feels daunting or overwhelming, we can always dip our toe in the water rather than belly-flopping in fully dressed. Regardless of our strategy we should be stretching and challenging ourselves daily.
How connected are you to your creative community? If you write, there are writing groups and reading groups where we can learn so much about our craft and contribute positively to other people’s journeys. There are resource centers and libraries offering amazing events, experiences and courses — in person and online. This is a great place to meet new people and expose ourselves to new perspectives and new skills.
So many creative types, myself included, are incredibly socially awkward and nervous. We fumble and bumble and wince and regret and avoid avoid avoid. This makes our worlds small and denies us the opportunity to learn about ourselves, and others, to fertilise our rich creative minds with new experiences and salt our worlds with bumps, jolts and the occasional awkward tumble.
How many friends do you have who are different from you? How often do their routines/beliefs/values challenge you? Do you attend events that are on the periphery of your interest? How open and curious is your mind to things you don’t know, don’t agree with, aren’t comfortable in?
How diverse is your community and the landscape of your world?
First published on my website 3 Sept 2020