My partner and I separated for a while a few years back.
It was much-needed and long overdue.
I had spent my entire life being dependent on someone in one way or another, and carried those dynamics into the relationship. For us to have any chance, I knew we needed space, and I sat on that truth for years, not feeling safe enough to take the step out into the unknown.
Then I did.
The response from others surprised me. For me, it was a time for celebration. That decision took so much courage—so much sitting with myself, while trying to find the answer of what I needed to do. It was my process of becoming.
But people offered me their sympathy; they said they were sorry.
What? Sorry? This is the bravest thing I’ve ever done!
Separation is always hard, that is true. But it was a good kind of hard—it was a “free” kind of hard, rather than a “stuck” kind of hard. It made me realize how quick we are to celebrate when people tick off the “good” boxes in their lives.
We celebrate new jobs, marriages, bigger house purchases, and fancy holidays.
What if, instead, we celebrated when people made choices that set their souls on fire? What if we congratulated people for making choices that were true to themselves, no matter what they looked like?
That might mean a new job, or it might mean leaving one. It might mean marriage, or it might mean separation. It might mean moving to a big new house, or it might mean downsizing to something smaller.
The what doesn’t matter nearly as much as the why.
Next time someone tells you news, be willing to ask what that news means to them. How does it feel in their body to be making that decision?
Then respond accordingly.
If people knew they would be celebrated for any choice they made, as long as it was true to themselves, I believe we would have a much more courageous world.