I choose to belong
And that means asking for what I need and talking about how I'm feeling
I felt my spine clench telling me to speak up, as I enjoyed lunch with two (relatively new) friends Kim & Kelly, at the Dushanbe Teahouse.
I honored the tension in my spine and shared vulnerably.
“I need support with something, and I’d like your reflections.”
They nodded to say yes, and halfway through my share, I felt tears stream down my face as I revealed my fear.
Edmond and I aim to start a family this year, and that’s bringing up a whole vortex of emotions that make it difficult for me to see clearly sometimes.
In allowing the tender parts of me to be revealed, I invite them into my world and give them the gift of valuing their input.
Kim shared a reflection that helps me to realize I’ve extrapolated one instance into all other scenarios that might come up as parents.
And Kelly helped me remember to love and accept Edmond for who he is.
I sigh deeply in hearing their words of wisdom, and I anchor into feeling the nourishment of being heard, supported, and loved amidst fear.
I value these connections and the way we trade off sharing reflections for each other, celebrate bravery, and help each other identify how to move forward where we feel stuck.
I feel fortunate to have created seeds of friendship like this that are deeply fulfilling in such a short time. And this is only one geographical pocket of deep friendships that I’ve cultivated in the last few years.
I’ll admit, creating a network of support is a learned skill — not luck.
And it starts with an empowered mindset on belonging.
Choosing to belong
Belonging has long been a core wound for me.
Every new group I enter into sparks the question: Where do I fit?
But something important shifted in me during our nomad travels, while living in Hawaii and in living in the Yoni House for a month in January.
I learned that I can simply choose to belong.
There’s empowerment in that mindset.
When I’m assuming belonging, I assume that the tender parts of me belong too.
And that means that showing emotions like fear, insecurity, or even confidence can build trust.
Asking for support is a skill
The ability to ask for support is something I’ve learned in the last 12 months.
Historically, I’d believed that “whenever I ask other people for support, there’s nobody who wants to support me.”
I’d also told myself, “I’ll just take care of myself. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”
Both are stories that have prevented me from being revealed, and that means those unrevealed parts can never truly belong.
Here’s what I’ve learned about asking for support:
Be specific & clear in my request for support.
It’s an act of love and an honor for the person being asked.
Ask for consent so I can avoid emotional dumping.
If they say, “No, I’m not available to support right now,” that is also an act of love for both of us.
For instance, a request could sound like:
Request: “I’d like to ask for support, in the form of hearing a reflection. I’m wanting to know where my blindspots are on X topic. Are you available for 30 min?”
Response: “I’m not available right now, but I’d be available this afternoon or tomorrow. Would that work?”
As I’m mastering this skill, I’m learning how to let myself be truly seen, and I’m feeling more belonging than ever because of it.
Tomorrow marks the end of our 10 days at home in Boulder before flying out for the holidays, and my heart is aching about leaving. Not because I don’t want to go on the next adventure, but because I’ll miss the people I’m beginning to love.
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