June 10, 2021

How to Show Up When someone is Struggling.


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When someone falls, and you kneel down to help them straighten their crown, you are a Queen (or King).

Those who look down at others—kick, spit, and laugh, walking away with their nose in the air—are the jokers.

Judgemental eyes peering down upon another never really helped anyone.

To give the short version of my past year, along with accumulating traumas and discovering a tumor on my liver, I’ve lost my love, my best friends, and completely lost myself. In the midst of all that came burnout, panic, depression, resurfaced agoraphobia, and overwhelming grief. All while parenting two preteens on my own, and that, itself, can be a huge challenge.

I’ve been reaching out for a support system like a toddler who doesn’t know how to swim. Head underwater. Hands in the air. Drowning in my own grief and depression. Suffocating from anxiety and panic. My hand has slipped from another’s quite a few times.

The words we’re told, the looks we’re given, and how we’re treated are easy to embody when we feel like there is nothing left of ourselves. Not knowing who we are, the definitions from others slip on so easily—especially that of rejection, criticism, and shame.

But just before I began the final stages of giving up, I found the strength to reach once more. I made one last call, and it very well may have saved me from my hell. At the very least, it shined light onto my darkened walls for a day.

Two lovely ladies sat in my living room, despite my panic, tears, and household mess, and they helped me remember that I, too, have a crown.

They showed me I wasn’t alone. They showed me I was worthy of love and care—that I am understood in my depleted state. They made me smile and laugh and remember parts of me I thought I’d never see again.

A few hours later, I picked myself up—having had enough courage and self-esteem to try to accomplish three tasks of self-care—one task at a time. (That’s more than I’ve done in at least a week or three.)

I still panicked. I still doubted myself. But I remembered their joy. I remembered their care. I remembered hearing them relate to me and being okay with themselves anyway. And I held on tight to the acceptance I felt just as I was. 

Beautiful women like this are Queens. Thanks to them, I finally feel worthy of love. I feel I can belong somewhere just as I am. I found my people. And thanks to them, I have hope that I’ll wear my crown again, too. 

When someone is openly struggling, don’t devalue the shred of self they have left.

If it weren’t for compassion, love, and understanding, I would still be too weighed down by the judgements, criticisms, and lack of care from others to get up and try.

You can’t hurt someone into healing. You can’t yell someone into calm. You can’t criticize someone into confidence.

Compassion feels safe. Compassion understands. Compassion comforts. Compassion is love, and love heals.

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