September 19, 2015

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

When People Can't Show Up - sept 20

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.

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  • Laura

    Hi Nikita I love your blogs. But my favorit e is the one of the Bubble of Love
    What i use to write, it can be a pray for ex amplíe in they hace a renquear prayer or in a diary. Living in a foreign racist country like the US is hard, my kids living a way and now having problem in my New marriage

    • Nitika

      Hi Laura! I am so glad you liked this post, sending love to you and your whole family, hope you all get through this difficult time with ease. xoxoxo

  • Awo

    love these tips Nitika!- especially the love cocoon. I’m going to start practicing that! What are some tips you have for when you don’t have friends to call (as in you need to make more) or you’ve already invested in third party help?

    • Nitika

      Hi love! When I have already reached out to friends or invested in a third party, and nothing has worked, I go to ultimate and total compassion. I honestly become my own best friend. I tell myself, whatever I need as long as I am not harming myself or others, I can indulge in it for the next day, hours, whatever it takes. It sounds a bit cliche but honestly it’s the only thing that works when I can’t look to others. That’s when I learned what some of my favorite things are, enjoyed some great movies, ate delicious foods and experimented with some amazing beauty products. Hope that’s helpful!! Lots of love xoxoxo

  • Awo

    I also want to say that I appreciate you stating that an affirmation or just throwing on a smile isn’t enough and doesn’t actually work. You have to feel and heal in order to break through the issue. Thanks for this! 🙂

  • Alissa

    I so needed to see this today! Thank you, Nitika 🙂

    • Nitika

      Aww yay! So glad it helped Alissa! Lots of love to you! xoxo

  • Krysten Hager

    I really needed to read this today. I’ve gone through a lot of this myself–both as a teen and as an adult. Those feelings are what inspired me to start writing young adult novels about teen girls trying to fit in deal with insecurities, and finding their place in the world and–and their “tribe!” Although it’s sometimes awkward for me to share those moments when I do interviews and get asked if I went through all of that, it is worth it if the readers feel like someone understands them and that they are not alone in what they are feeling.

    • Nitika

      Omg I love this Krysten! I so love how you to your pain in to purpose in such a unique way!!!! GO. YOU. So cool + sending you lots of love xoxo

      • Krysten Hager

        Thank you, it did make going to my high school reunion a whole different experience though–haha! It was therapeutic and I have found so many of the former “mean girls” who have read my work related to the characters that are being bullied and feeling vulnerable, which shows me that it’s true that hurting people hurt people

  • SMinNYC

    Thanks for sharing. I could relate to many points here (not fitting in, professional and personal struggles, failing to find empathy and instead being met with a self-affirmation band-aid). I really needed to hear this today.

    • Nitika

      So so glad to hear you could relate and that it was helpful! Sending you so much love as you navigate your journey, lots and lots of love xoxo

  • Ana

    Great post Nitika. Calling a compassionate friend always works for me too.

  • Michele Morales

    Thanks for this Nitika! I just love the “love cocoon.” For me, that means taking a walk in nature and talking to God about the good, the bad and the ugly. Doing that nurtures and quiets my emotions and gets me back into my peaceful zone.

    • Nitika

      Awww I love this so much Michele! Thanks for sharing that, it brought me peace just to think of a lovely nature walk with God like that. Lots of love xoxo

  • Betsy

    Hi Nitika! Thank you for this post! It really resonated with me because I had a similar experience when I was growing up and had many of those same those same thoughts and feelings. I kept them bottled up because I would get comments that I’m “too intense” or “too angry.” This post really helped me to see that I wasn’t alone and not crazy. Thanks again!

    • Nitika

      So glad this resonated with you Betsy!! No point keeping those feelings bottled up, your truth is POWERFUL. Lots of love! xx

  • Kimberly

    This is so true, especially as a highly sensitive person. I feel such connection with people and don’t get the support I expect. It’s so hard, but I’m learning to stand on my own two feet 🙂

    Thank you!


    • Nitika

      Totally Kimberly! I am a HSP too and it’s taken me a while to get this one, but you’re doing great! xx

  • Sofia Panagiotopoulou

    I only wanted you to know how helpful has been this article to me! And your enthusiasm, your honesty and presence!
    Thank you!!!
    Wish you all the best and lots of good energy for the year to come 🙂
    Sunny wishes from Greece <3

    • Nitika

      Thank you beautiful Sofia!! Wishing you an awesome year ahead too + lots of love!! xx

  • Nikka

    Thank you for this post! I have also been in the same situation where I allowed myself to be vulnerable & opened up to people before that I thought I could trust, only left to feel even more alone & misunderstood. I spoke my truth, only to be met with judgment & criticism. I realized that they had no clue what I was talking about, and I realized that they couldn’t understand where I was coming from. I may have been speaking from a place of unbridled emotions to the point I was verbally vomiting intense emotions. Yes, I can’t hold people responsible for my emotions & they can only understand from their own level of understanding. I know that I have to take responsibility for how I feel, but it made me feel even more isolated & guarded. I never allowed myself to feel that vulnerable again. It also made me less trusting of others. I fiercely guarded my heart. I know that is not a solution to a problem. I just never wanted to feel that pain again. I am learning to accept myself as I am, without the need for others to validate me. I allow myself to be human & I choose to accept people as they are. I have a lot of self-awareness to know that I can trust myself. I understand myself & I know I will be okay.It’s not a matter of getting people to understand me, its learning to like myself a little more especially when I feel misunderstood.

    • Nitika

      Totally get all of this Nikka! Thank you for sharing this with us here. I hope you continue to open your heart, move forward with learning to trust yourself and navigate the ups and downs of all of this with some faith. You’re amazing! Keep it up + lots of love! xx

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