Sometimes, as part of the process of healing one thing, you create damage to something else. For example, if you receive chemotherapy to treat cancer, your hair falls out. Medications have side effects.
Over the past few years, I’ve been on an extended healing journey, and there has been quite a bit of collateral damage. My business. My home. And my relationships.
Nurturing relationships is one of my core values, and something I was always good at doing. I was good at it because I loved doing it. I feed off the energy of other people and I love bringing people close to me. I was a connector, delighting in introducing people to each other, taking pleasure when I could bring a diverse group together.
All of that fell apart in recent years. In part because of shame around some of what I was going through, and because of beliefs that I shouldn’t share my struggles and my problems. In part because healing requires a lot of energy.
Whatever the reason, the point is that I have failed to nourish my relationships.
Calling friends. Getting together. Remembering birthdays and other dates. Checking in. Both offline and online. And my newsletter.
This is one of my big heart pains because nurturing relationships is one of my highest values. There is no disappointment greater than failing to live to your standards.
So the distance grows, and you can fall further into your hole as you deprive yourself of the greatest source of nourishment you truly need.
Navigating the Big Chasm
If you let this go on for too long, at a certain point you fall into complacency around it. The longer you’re away, the harder it is to return.
Returning feels like trying to cross a river at high tide.
What do you say? How do you reestablish connection? How do you rebuild trust?
I would like to say that it won’t happen again, that I won’t disappear again, that I’m here to stay this time. I want to believe this is true, because I’ve learned that we cannot go through our struggles and challenges alone. And I’ve learned that there is power in sharing your story: it helps you see that you are not alone and it helps others see that they are not alone.
Most of all I want to believe that I’ll learn in more because relationships are important to me and I know it’s important to share what we’re going through.
But the truth is that I don’t know that I won’t disappear again. If I do, I hope it won’t be for as long.
How do I catch up on what I missed in people’s lives?
How do I catch them up on what has happened in my life?
How do I weave together a story that makes sense?
How do I create a compelling narrative?
I’ve been searching for a way to “explain it all.”
Maybe we don’t need to explain anything.
Why do we need a “compelling narrative?” What does that even mean?
Sometimes the best answer is the most simple answer:
Start where you are.
The Most Simple Way to Start a Conversation
When I crew at Tony Robbins’ events, I always work the Products Booth, and I’ve had the opportunity to lead that team several times. I love engaging with the participants and my fellow crew members. At one event someone on my team asked me for guidance. She said she didn’t know what to say to people when they approached the products booth. She didn’t want to be to “salesy.”
The advice I gave her was to keep it simple. I showed her how I approached it: I would walk up to a person and say “Hi, I’m Renée. What’s your name?” And we took it from there.
Later in the day she told me that she followed my advice and had served many participants using that simple conversation starter.
Oldest trick in the book.
Seems like good advice for right now.
Start where you are.
Hi, I’m Renée. What’s your name?