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When Valentine’s Day SUCKS..

For those alone on Valentines

SG x

WE LOVE YOU.

Dear Ones —

The fantastic graphic designer Emily McDowell (www.emilymcdowell.com) made this card, as a Valentine for a friend who might not have a Valentine right now, and who might be feeling sad about that.

Elizabeth Gilbert's photo.

I’m so touched by it. There is such love and kindness in this.

First of all, I should say this: Any of you who happen to spending this Valentine’s Day with the love of your life, God bless you. Enjoy every minute of it. Eat that chocolate. Drink that champagne. Put those roses in a crystal vase and stand back and admire them. We are happy for you.

Now. As for everyone else…

Sometimes it seems like Valentine’s Day was specifically invented to make a whole bunch of people feel kind of bad about themselves. I don’t like this aspect of the holiday.

There have been times in my life when I have been happy in a relationship, and other times when I have been deeply unhappily in a relationtionship. (Miserable, really. As they say, “There is sometimes nothing lonelier than the number two.”)

There have also been times when I have been very happy alone, and other times when I was deeply unhappily alone.

In other words, I am familiar with all the possibilities here, when it comes to love and happiness and unhappiness. I’ve tried it all.

We are complicated, and we can feel many things at many different times in our lives. We can feel sassy and independent at times, and soft and co-dependent at other times. But here’s something I know to be true, beucase I have experienced it: Sometimes, the fact is, we feel lonely.

It’s OK sometimes to feel lonely. We’ve all felt it. We’ve all had times where, even though we are doing well, and we are kicking ass in the world, and we are grateful for all the blessings in our life, and we are taking brilliant care of ourselves, there are times when we wonder, “Where is my partner? Where is my love? Why haven’t I found someone?”

It’s not like you feel like you need to be COMPLETED, for heaven’s sake. You know better than that. We all do. But sometimes people get lonely.

There is nothing wrong or strange about feeling this way. This is what it’s like to have a human heart. But at such times in life, let’s just admit it: Valentine’s Day SUCKS.

On any Valentine’s Day that happens to fall at a time in life when you are feeling the wrong kind of alone (not the great kind of alone, which is a very real experience, as well), the whole day can bum you out.

At such times, the kindest thing a friend can tell you is what Emily has written on the card below. At such moments, you don’t really need your best friend to say pragmatic things like, “I’m sure you can always take care of yourself!” or “Dude, you don’t need to define yourself by your relationships status”, or “You’re too modern a person to care about these dumb labels that society makes up, anyhow!”

When you are feeling kind of lonely, you don’t need someone to quote divorce statistics, or remind you of how lousy so many relationships are, or say, “Hey, Valentine’s Day is just an artificially-manufactured holiday, created by marketers to sell cheap chocolates and greeting cards!”

At such times, you don’t need a friend who will judge you for what you might want. Nobody should ever judge anybody for what they might want.

At such times, you really need a friend who will say, “I love you, and someday you will find a partner who will love you as much as I love you.”

It’s just nice to hear. Especially when it is said with certainty.

(I know it’s nice to hear, because there were times in my life when I had friends who said these words to me, and I was grateful.)

I mean, of course you know that you are FINE. You are better than fine. You are awesome, and you know that. We all know that. You’re STUPENDOUS, and you will always be stupendous. Whatever happens. You know that, right? We all know that.

But still. It’s a weird holiday, and these words of certainty and love can be nice to hear.

So, in conclusion:

For all of you who are happy in your relationships right now, I send you love.

For all of you who are unhappy in your relationships right now, I send you love.

For all you who are happy to be alone right now, I send you love.

But for all of you who are unhappy to be alone right now, we ALL send you love. Today all of us (all the big-hearted friends in this generous and sweet community) will say it together: “You are amazing, and we love you. We hope someday you find the person that you long to find. Until then, you have us.”

Then you can go back to being awesome. Which you are.

(And thank you, Emily McDowell, for always doing such beautiful and soulful work. WE LOVE YOU, TOO!)

Heart always,
LG (Elizabeth Gilbert)

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The Need To Be Alone

Emerging

Become known, become apparent, become evident, be revealed, come to light, come out, transpire, come to the fore, enter the picture, unfold, turn out.

ERenovar-se não é se desfazer de todos os seus sentimentos. É reciclar a alma, sacudir o pó daquilo que nos importa e que deixamos de priorizar. É deixar partir aquilo que não nos acrescenta, É acender a nossa luz . E abrir o coração para novas e boas histórias. Rosi Coelho:

Many of us need extended time alone as we heal. We’re regaining our strength, repairing our wings.

Separating from your old life and circle can be essential. Don’t judge it, don’t label yourself. Don’t believe that ‘you’re a loner’, or that no-one is like you, or that you don’t fit anywhere.

You just need time in your cocoon, don’t question the time, allow it.

You do fit .. you’re just no longer a caterpillar.

You’re growing and changing.

Your cocoon separates you from the caterpillars and it protects your precious budding wings. Those caterpillars will eat anything!

You’re not isolating, it’s a time of growth, self protection and solitude.

Have patience, when you’re ready to show your colours you’ll emerge and join the butterflies.

SG x

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Being Vulnerable Can Expand Your World

I am actively taking the risk of being more open, authentic and vulnerable. I started first on this blog and now in my day to day life.

I’m not going to lie… being open and vulnerable has been painful, very painful. I’ve learnt and I am still learning some really hard lessons. And many times I have just wanted to isolate again purely because it’s safer (less terrifying) and easier :o(

We know it’s a risk to be vulnerable. You risk being misunderstood, labelled and rejected and I’ve experienced all of that, but I also experienced being embraced, accepted and loved for what I once denied and hid about myself.. and that feels good, really good.. and that is my motivator to keep putting myself out there :o)

I have experienced people that ‘get me’ and have encouraged me, as a result I am learning more about myself and I am accepting of sides of me that I didn’t like or want, but if it don’t embrace those parts of me I realize I am rejecting myself.. I am not loving all of me..

To be vulnerable you have to love and accept yourself … all of yourself.

Enjoy this great post on vulnerability by WENDY MIYAKE

Love and baby steps,

SG x

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” ~Brene Brown

Vulnerability has never been my strong suit. It’s no wonder. In order to be vulnerable, you have to be okay with all of you. That’s the thing about vulnerability that no one tells you about.

Being vulnerable is not just about showing the parts of you that are shiny and pretty and fun. It’s about revealing what you deny or keep hidden from other people. We all do this to some extent. I bet you’ve never said to a friend, “Oh my god, I just love that I’m insecure.”

But that’s the point, isn’t it? You’ve got to love everything, if you want to be vulnerable by choice.

Most of us have probably experienced vulnerability through default. More often than not, we are either forced into that state through conflict, or we are surprised by it after our circumstances feel more comfortable.

Few of us consciously choose vulnerability. Why? The stakes are too high.

If we reveal our authentic selves, there is the great possibility that we will be misunderstood, labeled, or worst of all, rejected. The fear of rejection can be so powerful that some wear it like armor.

My first real experience with vulnerability came when I was twenty-five.

I had just accepted a position as a literature teacher of juniors and seniors at a local high school. This was quite possibly the most intimidating situation I had ever gotten myself into thus far. We’re talking teenagers here, the most extraterrestrial of all age groups!

To make matters worse, I asked my parents for advice. Being longtime elementary school teachers, my parents had a plethora of horror stories to share about unruly students, unreasonable parents, and teachers who could not control their classrooms.

Each story ended with, “And that’s why she quit and ended up going into retail.”

I didn’t want to be a quitter, so I listened well when they told me that I needed to be strong from the get-go, that I needed to show my students who was boss.

In the words of my father, “You can be a bitch and work your way down to nice, but you can’t be nice and work your way up to being strong.”

I took my parents’ advice to heart. In the first week, I flunked seventy-five percent of my students on the summer reading exam. I yelled a lot to control the classroom environment.

And when my students would complain about an assignment, I would say to them, “Remember, this class is not a democracy, it’s a monarchy and guess who’s queen?”

When I read those words now, I can’t help but cringe.

But at the time, I believed vulnerability was a liability. I was okay with being the dragon lady. It was safe.

And under that façade, no one knew how terrified I actually was. So I wore that armor as if my life depended on it.

If I had my way, I would have kept my guard up for the rest of that year. But my students were much smarter than me. They must have known on some level that, in the presence of true vulnerability, no one could remain closed off.

Perhaps no event demonstrated this better than when the senior honors project was in jeopardy.

It was not traditional curriculum, and thus it came under scrutiny. My seniors were visibly upset because they had worked so hard on their group papers, and they were looking forward to their presentations in which faculty from the school as well as from the university would be present.

When they expressed their feelings so honestly and openly, I could not turn away. Now, I wanted to fight not only for the project but for the students themselves.

When I thought we would have no choice but to abandon the whole thing, I remember telling my students that I wanted to quit. For the first time, I was very honest with them about how I was feeling and what I wanted for them.

I was, perhaps, the most vulnerable I had been all year. And that moment of vulnerability paid off big time.

When I left the school at the end of the year, I received many letters from my students. In them, I discovered that they were touched by the fact that I had fought so hard for them, that I was honest with them, and that I believed in them so passionately.

At the time, I probably said to the universe something like, “Ah! You tricked me! This was supposed to be just a temporary job until my real life began. I wasn’t supposed to invest in anyone or be committed to anything or care about anyone.”

But I was very connected to these students long before I even knew I was. Needless to say, they got their senior project. But I received something so much greater. I learned what vulnerability looked like and felt like. And I was the recipient of all its rewards.

Over the years, I have continued to experience that place of vulnerability. I cannot say that all my experiences have come through choice, but I do try to enter that state as much as I can.

While I am far from being an expert on this subject, I have come to some conclusions that I hope will be meaningful to those who want to choose vulnerability:

1. VULNERABILITY IS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU LOVE YOURSELF.

Think about it. When you don’t love all of you and are afraid to show people the less than stellar parts, the space between you and vulnerability is like the Grand Canyon. You will need all the courage you can get to make the leap across.

But when you love yourself, and I mean all of you, you don’t worry so much if someone else doesn’t. And when you’re less afraid of rejection, you step right into that place of openness.

2. VULNERABILITY TAKES PRACTICE.

You don’t just learn it once and then—ta-dah!—you’re easily open to everything and everyone. My experience at the high school was very profound, but even now, many years later, I still have moments where I’m more guarded and less willing to share the real me.

Thank goodness life continues to give me opportunities to consciously choose openness. And most times, I do.

3. THE REWARDS OF VULNERABILITY ARE IMMEASURABLE.

When I have chosen to be open, to show my authentic self, my students have met me there. And when they’ve met me there and formed that connection, there’s nothing they can’t accomplish.

With vulnerability, you experience true connection—true love for yourself—and you begin to attract people to you who are inspired by your openness.

While it’s not easy to be vulnerable, you’d be surprised how loving all of you and then sharing it with another can help you to connect with anyone. In my own life, I’m continuing to open up to my students.

I’ve been showing them a little more of the complexity that is me. They now know the ugly truth that I don’t do math. They know that whenever I need to half a recipe, my twelve-year-old nephew does the fractions for me.

Shameful? Perhaps. But you know what? I like that girl and in the end, so do my students.