Any “Grey’s Anatomy” fans out there? Who remembers the line “you’re my person”, first spoken by Cristina Yang to Meredith Grey? Although I heard the phrase more than a decade ago, the concept is timeless. Life is full of rough patches and can get emotionally messy and disorienting at times. Many of us find solace knowing that we have at least one person that we can turn to and can confide in, when we are at low tide.
It can be exhausting to maintain a bright, shiny veneer on the outside, when beneath the surface we are being ravaged by turbulent and unrelenting emotions. It is a beautiful grace to have a person in your life with whom you can drop your mask and be completely vulnerable with. It is a gift to be able to freely share your innermost thoughts and feelings with your person, without the need to edit or censor yourself.
On the flipside, it is equally important that your person feels free to be honest with you and call you out when necessary. When emotions are running wild and clarity of thought is elusive, it can be helpful to listen to another perspective. Someone who knows you well can effectively cut through your smokescreens and support you in processing whatever you are struggling with.
Early in December of 2020, I was initially stoked about pursuing a new job opportunity I had seen advertised. I was ready for change and finally found something that piqued my interest. I am not sure whether it was stepping out of my comfort zone and going in a completely new direction that triggered me, but I had to combat so much anxiety just to submit my application. Even after I submitted it, I continued to stress about all kinds of negative scenarios that might play out. I have always been a bit of an overthinker, but I had never experienced such intense emotions in connection with a job application.
I spoke to my person several times about my anxiety and concerns about the job, holding nothing back. At some point, the supportive tone that I had grown accustomed to expecting, suddenly morphed into something else. For the first time, I detected notes of irritation, impatience and judgment. It seemed incredulous and utterly perplexing to my person, how I could be reacting so strongly to something that had not happened or may never happen.
She told me that she was very concerned about me in a condescending tone. It felt like a bucket of ice water had been dumped on me. I never saw that coming. When I indicated that I would call to wish her on Christmas Day, she let me know that we did not have to talk again that week and proceeded to wish me a merry Christmas in advance.
I was floored! At this point, I did not know which situation was more upsetting to me. My first reaction was shock, followed swiftly by anger. Whenever she had been through challenging times, I was her person. I was a calming and supportive influence who was never at a loss, for offering helpful suggestions and strategies. Never before, had she made me feel so small, weak and foolish, for dropping my mask with her.
Although it did not feel like it at the time, there was a lot of grace present in the situation. It was a gift with a timed-release activation. First off, the atypical conversation with my person was a great disruptor of the loop of emotional turmoil I was caught in, regarding the job I applied for. Second, it pushed me to sit with the discomfort of my feelings and dared me to look under the hood. Third, this allowed me to face myself and uncover shadows that were lurking beneath the surface.
I asked myself a number of questions which gave rise to some keen insights about myself. What was at the root of the discomfort and anxiety that was coming up for me? Was the act of repeatedly sharing my feelings with my person, magnifying and expanding the distress for both of us? Was I showing up for myself? Was I offering myself the same love, support and compassion that I would extend to others who are struggling? What did my coping mechanisms say about my perception of self, and how was that mirrored back to me?
What came into focus for me, is that I am uncomfortable with uncertainty. When I cannot label or categorize something, I seek feedback from others as an attempt to gain understanding and control over the situation. Coming from a place of confusion and disempowerment, the Law of Attraction reflected that energy right back to me through my person. She was the mirror that was held up for me, to show me what I needed to see and understand about myself.
Every time I feel like someone has offended me or done me wrong, it always ends up circling back to me. I am my own responsibility. If I do not believe that I am worth showing up for and providing for my own needs, how can I expect that from others? Am I willing to allow other people to characterize who I am and what my reality is? I decided that it is far more empowering for me to just accept when I do not have the answers, while creating the space and staying open to receive them.
Resisting and fighting against what you cannot control, only creates more suffering. Committing to where you stand within a current reality is grounding. Bouncing around between unknown variables as if in a pinball machine, is destabilizing. Pouring kindness, compassion and self-love into yourself feels better than imposing pressure and self-judgment.
After doing the inner work the fog eventually lifted, bringing the clarity and insight I needed. From this more abundant state of being, I was able to confidently make sound decisions for myself and see the bigger picture regarding my person. This has positively shifted how I now show up and has increased my awareness of what I contribute to our friendship. If I did not like what had been broadcasted before between us, then it was up to me to change the channel. There was nothing wrong with the television, nor was there any need to cancel my cable service.
When life starts to feel shaky and wobbly, we seek refuge from the emotions that begin to besiege us. Rather than trying to outrun them, we are better off getting acquainted with them and asking them why they are showing up and what they need from us. It is not enough to just drop our masks. We need to arrive at a deeper awareness of self and what makes us tick. As we become better acquainted with our operating manual, we get a glimpse of just how powerful and well equipped we really are. We can then begin to navigate our way through life with greater ease and confidence.
As a side note, I received a rejection letter regarding the job I had applied for. I was informed that other candidates had more closely met the job requirements. I was disappointed at first, but not surprised. I continued to see postings for the same position multiple times and wondered what was going on. By the third time or so, I noticed that the posting was more upfront about a particular detail that had been previously excluded.
The organization had glamorized the position with a misleading job description. Only later, did I realize the bigger implications that would come with accepting the offer, but deciding to quit after. It also dawned upon me that all of the intense emotions and anxiety that I was experiencing about the job, was my intuition screaming at me. If I am being honest, there were a few things that seemed odd about the job posting, but I chose to gloss over them. I just wanted my job search to be over with and to select an option that looked good on the surface, but also felt safe. It seems that the universe was not going to allow me to settle for less than I deserved, for the sake of certainty and security.
It was by grace that I dodged a few bullets in connection with that job. There is so much that we cannot see or understand the full impact of, at any given time. I guess that is why hindsight is 20/20. As emotionally taxing and draining as the uncertain moments in our lives are, they are usually embedded with a saving grace. They have the capacity to crack us open and allow some light in. If we can be patient and gentle with ourselves, have a little faith, and trust in divine timing, we will be rewarded with illumination that provides exactly what we need.