We spent the evening last night with some old friends decorating their Christmas tree, drinking too much spiked egg nog and watching chestnuts roast on the open fire (really). And through the laughter and chatter, we forged stronger connections with the people our family loves.
And for just a moment, everything going on in the outside world faded with the smell of fresh bread coming out of the oven and lasagne baking for dinner. For just a moment, I remembered what true connections feel like...those friendships that are unconditional...the ones where you can just show up with all of your beauty and all of your mess and just...well, exhale a bit...The ones where you don't have to second guess where you stand in their lives...ever. And that, my friends, is exactly what I was needing last night.
It's been a challenging year. I don't need to tell you that. We have all felt it in different ways. Some of you have handled these challenges rather gracefully. Able to come out of it relatively unscathed, maybe even a bit better and stronger for it. For others, these stressful times often throw us in a tailspin and we seem to fall back into old patterns of toxic comfort. Because that is what we know. That is what we can count on. That is what is familiar. And with that, we have lost a little bit of our armor along the way. Just a little bit at a time. Seemingly and slowly chipping away, until we wake up on a chilly December morning not recognizing who is looking back at us in the mirror.
I have been there. I have felt this way from time to time. I have stepped into the darker side of familar and even stayed there awhile, knowing it was toxic or unhealthy. Knowing that I have temporarily abandoned my better self. Stepping into something that I knew, from the start, was going to resemble a small train wreck when it was finished. And I find that there have been a lot of people willing to be passengers on this ride with me. Some just needing a bit of distraction. Some wanting love and connection but not having any idea how to do that. And some, just so broken that they will try and take you down and everyone else that steps into their little world. It's a dark place to be in if you stay too long. But once you are here, the key is jumping off the train before it veers off of the tracks too much...and then not getting back on.
And this is where courage comes in.
People often think of courage as something needed for some monumental event in our lives. But what I am finding is that courage can be seen in just waking up each day deciding to do better. Deciding to make different decisions, making mini shifts away from the familar and into creating something better for yourself.
Whether it's forging new relationships, breaking bad habits, having stronger boundaries.
Working out, eating better, becoming a better parent, getting a different job.
Surrounding yourself with solid folks, staying away from toxic people, healing that part of you that is attracted to toxicity...it all takes courage.
We have fought bigger battles than this. There is no sidestepping this one. There is no tip toeing around what we know. There is no more rewriting our experiences to make it acceptable. It's dig down deep time, friends. Straight through it. And we will come out the other side with our feet firmly planted on the ground. Because that is what we do.
Every. Damn. Day.
Every little decision. Every breath. Every moment. It takes courage to be the better person. To walk away from the drama that others crave. To step outside of your comfort zone and leave a shitty relationship, get a better job, carve out a better life...
2020 is almost done, my friends. Hang in there.