From the very beginning, this summer has been a pretty intense walk down Memory Lane here in Carrie-town.
It started in the technically-not-summer-late-spring, when I walked down the street and saw the shades up and a big “FOR RENT” sign near the front window of my first apartment in Philadelphia.
I pressed my nose against the glass and looked at the empty space.
Memories came flooding over me, in a clearer and more visceral way than they had in years. I couldn’t pull myself away.
Vulnerability is a part of life, no matter what. It tends to be significantly heightened if you are pushing yourself to grow, taking risks, and moving through a period of transition.
The good news is, there are strategies that can really help you to manage the vulnerability of change and putting yourself out there.
Learning and practicing these strategies will build your resilience muscles, and help to carry you through the ups and downs of your journey.
Resilience is a practice, not a destination—so be kind to yourself, and know that it’s normal to feel knocked down from time to time. Here are some ways to get back up:
Sometimes there’s no such thing as finished.
One of the hardest parts of an ending—whether it’s the end of a relationship, a job (or a whole career), or your residence in a home or city—is the knowledge and acceptance that this will have been it.
When you’re going—really going—a particular insidious voice can show up in your head. I call this voice the Never-Dids.
“But I never finished…”
“But I/we never got to…”
“But I haven’t gotten this perfect yet.”
When there’s always a tomorrow in that place, job, or relationship, there’s always a possibility to do better, to complete more, to enjoy or experience more, to perfect and hone.
When tomorrow will find you somewhere new…that’s when the Never-Dids come out to play.
Wish you’d boarded that train sooner?
When I work with people who have decided to make a major change in their relationships or careers, one of the most common themes I hear is regret about having waited until now:
“I knew things weren’t going well. Why didn’t I end it sooner?”
“I wasted so much time.”
“I could have been over this and moving on a year ago, but instead I stayed stuck.”
“All those years and nothing to show for it.”
“I lost x months/years of my life.”
“I knew in my heart it was time to go…but I stayed for years.”
“All my friends told me I should leave, but I didn’t listen.”
“If only…I just wish…Why couldn’t I have…”
Today I want to teach you a 6-step process that will help you banish the guilt and self-punishing and help you turn that “doomed” relationship or “dead-end” job into one of the best things that ever happened to you—even after the fact.
What do you *want* to hold on to?
When it comes to things we can’t control, people often advise us to let go.
When it comes to moving on from an ended relationship or job, we push ourselves to let go.
When it comes to, well, coming, we’re told the secret is to let go!
It seems like the right idea—after all, we want to move on or get past whatever isn’t working, and letting go seems like the only way to do that. Sometimes, though, letting go sounds good in theory, but is near to impossible to achieve in practice.
Let’s face it—putting yourself out there to make new friends can be scary.
It can also be more than a little disheartening when you harness your courage and put in the effort to get out there, but don’t make a connection.
One way to keep yourself encouraged to try new social things is to choose events that have multiple-win potential—meaning, more than one good thing that can come out of them.
When you try a multi-win activity or event, you can be less attached to a particular outcome. Chances are you’ll get something great out of it no matter what—and maybe a new friend to boot!
Another advantage to all of these ideas is that they offer a built-in focus or conversation topic. If you are shy and often struggle with how to strike up a conversation, choosing one of these activities lets you off the hook because there is already a shared focus in place.
Here are five multi-win ways to put yourself out there.
Last summer, after a year of renovating her new home, my friend Carmen decided it was time to warm her place up with friends.
At the housewarming party, Carmen proudly took us through and around the house, and as the tour finished, our group ended up in the garden.
Carmen showed us where she’d spent hours ripping up the prolific weeds and ivy, in some places leaving the weeds she liked the look of.
The more knowledgable gardeners in the group remarked on this plant and that. Knowing next to nothing about gardening myself, I was interested in Jill’s comment that sedum “roots itself.”
Drop it anywhere, she explained, and it will burrow its way into the soil and not just survive, but thrive.
“There’s a metaphor there somewhere,” I said.