What to Do When People Can’t Show Up For You

September 20, 2015 Health, Relationships

Growing up, most teenagers experience the paramount drama that comes along with puberty and wanting to fit in with the “cool kids.” Me– I had that to deal with plus a crazy case of psoriasis and being an American kid in an Indian home. At the time, it felt incredibly intense. I used to think, “where the heck do I fit in here?” and “omg, why is life so freaking hard?”

Feeling lonely was my normal, so when I had the chance to connect with friends and family, I tended to over-share the details of my personal struggles–my frustration with my skin, my sadness about not being like everyone else, my anger with life. I guess I expected people to have compassion and comfort me. But what often wound up happening was a heart-felt admission from me, followed by a blank stare or a generic “it will be fine.”

It hurt, big time. Those responses made me feel rejected, misunderstood, and invisible. Even though I had told them something really intimate, I felt even more alone and exposed. Which totally sucked. What I learned over time was that their reaction was not about me. It was an indication of their inability to experience that depth of feeling in their own life. Me being open and vulnerable and exposing my truth in this way is something they’d never do in their own life.

Even now, I’m faced with people not having the capacity to hold space for me when I’m really in a low place–whether it’s because of my health or in my business. Being in the self-help world means people tend to throw a positive affirmation your way and call it a day. Anything that has a “low vibration” is immediately met with a quick fix or a “that’s not really true; it’s your mindset that’s the problem.”

For someone who has been dealing with health issues for years, experiencing the loss of a loved one, or the reality of stretched finances, that feels incredibly dismissive.

Of course, I understand not everyone can show up the way I want them to, which is why I have 3 practices for coping with my own vulnerability so that I feel supported and loved.

1. Creating a love cocoon. Earlier this year, I had to switch my medication from something I’ve been using for 9 years, to something brand new. My body went through a lot of changes and they were incredibly painful. In that time I learned how to take especially good care of myself. I gave myself permission to take a ton of time for myself–vegging out in front of the TV, sitting on a park bench, or ordering my favorite healthy meal.

2. Calling a compassionate friend. When I’m feeling pain or emotional discomfort, I need to connect with a friend who has the emotional capacity to be with me in my darkest moments. When I need to be a mess, not be contained, and not worry about being judged, I call my friend Jennifer Racioppi who has gone through her fair share of health stuff (something she’s super open about). There was no question in my mind whether she would be able to understand what I was going through or not.

3. Invest in a third party perspective. The first time I went to therapy was when my marriage was falling apart. It helped so much to have a space to totally unravel, feel heard, and also have a professional to give me clarity around things I might not be able to see through my emotion. I’ve been seeing my current therapist for the last 5 years since becoming an entrepreneur (which comes with its own emotional rollercoaster), and she has the ability to support me 100% through all of my emotions.

So if you’ve ever felt a little bruised after sharing your truth with someone who wasn’t ready to receive it, I want you to know you’re not alone. I hope this post helps you navigate how to be vulnerable while also taking care of yourself.

I want you to know this is a safe place to share what’s going on with you. Our Love Entourage is all about love, after all. Please share in the comments below if you’ve ever experienced this or tips you have for creating your own love cocoon. I’ll be reading and responding to every comment.

Thank you for reading.

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