A therapist once told me, "Fights are the golden nuggets" -- I could not agree more.
Relationships are easy before there is conflict -- they take very little reflection, skill, forgiveness or courage before the windy storms hit and the sails must be set. How a conflict or disagreement or hurt feelings are handled are an opportunity to connect on a deeper level, or they are the opposite -- a miss.
A miss at connection.
A miss at courage.
A miss at an opportunity to hold the heart of another human being and humbly say 'I'm sorry' or alternatively, courageously speak your truth.
Fights are the golden nuggets for they -- when handled with grace and compassion -- help us to see of all of the unloved bits and pieces of our own souls; the pieces that we ourselves have forgotten to love and extend forgiveness and softness towards. Fights can be the mirror, the chance to look deep within our own souls at where we may be lacking self-care and forgiveness.
They are a chance to become a little more whole.
It's not easy when someone you love comes to you and courageously tells you that you have hurt them -- it stings so bad right in the feelers. This is exactly what happened to me yesterday as a friend that I adore and love very much sat across from me with love in her eyes and tenderness in her heart and all the courage that she could muster -- for speaking a truth always takes courage. I respect this quality in people so much. She told me about a time that I had fumbled through trying to speak my truth to her -- becasue that is what this friendship is; its a giant space where we continue to show up for each other to speak the hardest stuff, see the truth in one another and with each date together we complete it with a heart felt hug and a deep sense of sisterhood -- I was abrupt and sharp and came across as if I had no care for her feelings and she was really hurt and it lasted a long time.
Part of what happens when I hear someone speak a super brave and hard to hear truth is that I want to run away, slam the door and never look back. This used to be how I showed up, "well, fuck you then" is what I would say -- "I don't need you anyway." Today I am much more willing to sit in the uncomfortable while calling of softness and humility. So instead, I shut my mouth and I listened -- and it hurt. It hurt to know I made her feel that way. It hurt to know that she has been struggling over this for some time. It hurt to know that my ass-hole self sometimes appears and I fuck shit up and hurt peoples feelings. Not only that, but this was my time of real 'off-kilter-darkness' this past summer -- a few humans on this planet witnessed it (it was really not pretty and apparently more people were worried about me than I knew...) it always amazes me how obvious it is to others when I am not feeling mentally well -- it's more obvious to you than it is to me sometimes. I can't actually fathom how sharp or dark or cold I must have been to this woman I love that particular night.
And so I took it.
I received what she had to say with open arms.
I took her words and I saw the courage it took to say them and I felt how much she cared for my heart; the evidence being that she bothered to call on courage to show up and hold space to speak her truth and to sit with me regardless -- if she didn't care, it would be easier to say nothing.
I said I was sorry.
I thanked her for showing up and being brave and treating our relationship in sacred context. And then I went home and I digested this all -- I allowed the emotions to slowly be processed and then this morning I sat down with a coffee and some sage after a walk with the dogs and prayers to God to write; to continue my processing.
I am really beginning to see what true friendship looks like.
I am starting to see that some humans will come in for a short time to teach or deliver something to our souls -- they are not meant to be here forever. And some friends -- those that you build a deep and solid foundation with -- will stick around for a longer time. I think much of the foundation is built upon the qualities of courage, holding space and showing up authentically and of course, having the hard conversations. We are all walking around trying to do the very best that we can and when we stumble and mess up and walk all over the heart of a human we love there is a very good chance we will not know we did it -- it is so important to have the opportunity via brave and healthy communication to be able to say, "holy shit, I am so sorry for how I made you feel".
There is a power in humility, a divinity in "I fucked up".
As I grow older I am really starting to see a small circle of very strong women who I call my closest friends who are going to call me out on my shit, who are here to help me grow and evolve and become better -- and I, of course am doing the same for them. They are not necessarily the women I see every single day, perhaps it is few and far between that we connect eye contact and chat for what feels like 15 min but in reality 3 full hours pass. These are the women I feel holding the container for my growth -- the ones who are brave and deeply care, they do give a fuck -- a BIG ONE. The ones who are in the swamp and are doing their work. The women who truly care to see me succeed -- they celebrate when I celebrate. These are the women who also remind me when I am not showing up in the most gracefully, open hearted capacity that I can. They tell me when thy are worried about me and they trust my process -- they never try to fix me.
A relationship with self requires that we come back to the seat of the heart over and over and over again, constantly checking in and continuing to stay present -- especially when it is uncomfortable. The discomfort is a calling for nourishment and self-care. A friendship is no different -- we come back again and again and again to check in, stay present (especially when there is discomfort and pain) to say, "I see you. I see your pain. I love you. I am always here. Don't be such a dick, but you have me unconditionally".
Not everyone is ready to speak their truth nor do all the people feel the need in certain circumstances to do so and so, I respect that.
Having women in my life however, that are willing to do the hardest thing in the whole world: BE REAL is something I value an incredible amount. Having humans speak the hard truths and are willing to hear the hard truths -- now this is the golden nugget. This is where we transform the darkness into light; anger to forgiveness; isolation to connection; hurt to love.
The women in my life; wow. You are angels in disguise and shit you teach me so much. Thank You for holding space for me, for seeing me, for pushing me forward, for believing in me and forgiving me for being an asshole. I love you.