It's occurring to me the responsibility there is with a blank page, a blank screen. The space of potential words and images.
Potential connection, potential healing, potential impact. Potential hurt or harm.
Each evening, I begin to ponder what it is I might share the next day. Sometimes, the idea comes swiftly-the evening before or the morning of- and in a way that I know it isn't really me. It feels larger than me, or at least that part of me that hungers for acceptance or approval.
When these bursts of inspiration hit, I might feel a bit intimidated, but I trust that in the end, I'm somehow channeling through love that folks can relate to or take solace in.
I've received messages from readers who've shared how they could see a bit of themselves in my words. "I thought that was just me!" "I cried because I never realized I'd felt that way until I read that one post." "I enjoy the truth, the humour, and the company." "This makes me feel like I'm not alone."
I know when these connections occur, it's not because of anything I've done on my own. I've just let Love speak through me, and I've released any resistance to it. I'm so so SO very grateful and filled with love when a Sister is reminded of her strength, or can release some shame, or feel less alone. Interconnection is my jam. I heal a little, she heals a little, it's win-win.
But I also get that with writing, I'm not always going to resonate with people. And that's okay. I'm okay with not being everyone's cup of tea. We don't have to agree on everything. We can agree to disagree, be vulnerable, be brave, and still be kind.
I have a responsibility to be kind with my platform- however small it may be. I promise to be vulnerable and naked and brave as possible.
And I also promise to be kind.
As I take off my armour and share who I am- less than shiny stuff and all- I'm wanting to let others know that they can do the same. It's scary shit taking the armour off! We could all do with a little kindness as we scrape off the layers we've built up to shelter ourselves from feeling too much.
Listen, the world isn't always going to be kind. I encourage vulnerability, but being vulnerable doesn't necessarily beget others' kindness. Sometimes, it begets their fear and reactions because they can't be with that aspect of themselves.
In THIS space, however, in the space I am creating on my social media and blog? It will be steeped in kindness.
With that all laid out plain and clear, I wish to admit that I let a Sister down last week. I broke these rules of kindness because I mistakenly thought that the words I was sharing were Love. What they were, I can see now, were attempts for approval.
Under the guise of trying my hand at being a bit abrasive and provocative, I made an Instagram post in which I said to not be a "stubborn jerk" and reach out to the web of interconnection if you're feeling lonely.
It's a bit complicated, because what I was doing was making a bit of a joke about my own habit of shutting myself away. But because the words weren't shared authentically in my voice, because I was parroting some folks I've been learning from, the Love was lost.
And what's worse, when a Sister reached out to share she felt a bit judged by the post, I didn't handle it so well. I took her feedback as a personal hit, rather than hearing her pain.
I told her that perhaps the message "wasn't for her," because "it's just not possible for me to resonate with everyone." There's some truth to this, in theory. But. I know myself. I know when I am coming from a place of defence, of throwing the walls back up, and this, in hindsight, was one of them.
To this Sister, who so bravely shared with me how she felt, I am sorry. I am sorry that the original post hurt you, and that my responses were not from a place of really hearing you, because I was so damn busy reacting and defending my right to "not hold back what wishes to be said."
You know, Sister, I think you did me the biggest favour by sharing and commenting.
This exchange of ours hasn't really left my brain. At first, I was positive I was in "the right" to say what I said, and handle it how I handled it. But then the nagging feeling would NOT go away.
What I realized was this: Yes, I want to strip down the armour and be real and shameless. But stripping down the armour means speaking in my voice, and in that post I really, really wasn't. Though your comment didn't say it explicitly, and I doubt you were intending it to, in some ways it felt like the Universe saying, "Now is that really how you feel, Laura? Or is this a grab for attention?"
I also realized that what I want is to be a space of service. For my words, my actions, and my offers to serve others. If I share and I scrape away a layer of armour, then that's okay. But if someone else is hurt because I am not kind in the process? No beuno. Then not only was I not actually in service, but I harmed myself. I missed the entire point. Because we are all connected. None of us heal until we all heal, really.
Thank you for teaching me this valuable lesson, Instagram Sister. I'm really very grateful that you were brave and said how you felt. You said you were working on releasing the belief that humans equal pain and invalidation. I am truly mortified that I may have fed into that belief. You took a risk and shared with me, and in fear, I callously told you that my message wasn't for you. I invalidated the very comment you so generously shared.
Hear this, sweet one, and take it for what you will. I'm not sure how much my words are worth to you, after I was such a jackass.
This is what I think: Humans are tricky things. I'd say that Fear equals invalidation. But Love doesn't. Love is what you are, it's that part of you that's infinite and brilliant and brave and resilient enough to make strong, wise, inspiring Instagram comments, despite the rest of you feeling hurt. Love can't really protect you from hurt, but it's stronger than any pain you can possibly experience.
There are humans out in the world who are walking around operating from mostly Fear, which makes it hard for them to see Love. But there are also humans out in the world operating more from Love, which makes it easier for them to see Love. See, the world is a reflection of whatever is going on inside of us. Believe in Love, see Love. Believe in Fear, see Fear.
I have so much faith that you'll attract to you the people who see Love. They'll be attracted to the brilliant, brave, and vulnerable Love that you are. I've not ever met you in person, but I can feel the Love that you are in your words. And that's just on Instagram, Sister!
If you happen to have people in your life who operate more from Fear, try to not take it personally. Set boundaries around abuse and invalidation, of course, but know that the fear inside of them is what is driving them to see fear around them. It isn't you. You're Love. Boundless, courageous, endless Love.
Also, please don't stop sharing your insights and feelings. I understand if you don't feel okay sharing them with me now, but please do the world a service and keep sharing them somewhere. You make an impact with them that is healing and so beautiful. And that, Sister, is validation, connection, healing, and impact.