When I first met my coaching client S, she was – in her own words – just existing. She’d recently come through the double whammy of losing her husband, with whom she’d lived more than half her life, and breast cancer.
Her voice and face appeared flat and emotionless. She told me she’d felt numb for months. Though she had loving personal friends and a support group, she felt isolated and paralyzed.
One of my first questions to S was “what would you love?” Some survivors are excited and intrigued by this question. But many, like S, can’t find an answer to it. All she could tell me was that she didn’t feel safe or comfortable living alone.
I tried asking a different question: “what are you most needing right now?” And then the answers poured forth:
I need to feel safe.
I need to be with people I feel connected to.
I need the comfort of family.
Saying what she needed out loud gave S a huge sense of relief. She realized that she’d labeled herself as weak for having these needs, which is why she hadn’t expressed them before.
We talked about how safety, connection and comfort are needs of all humans – there isn’t one of us who doesn’t feel these needs at times. We don’t need to judge ourselves as weak when these needs come up.
On the contrary, the healthiest response is to acknowledge our needs with compassion. Because when we do, we make way for guidance as to how to get those needs met.
Almost immediately, S recognized that the best next step for her would be to spend time with loving family in the UK, where she grew up. She’s there now, allowing her “love tank” to be refilled so she can begin to dream about how to spend the next chapter of her life. The softness has returned to her face. She knows she’s going to be alright.
Have you ever labeled yourself as weak for feeling vulnerable?
What might happen if you recognize that everyone feels that way sometimes?
What might open up for you if you replaced self-judgment with self-compassion?
Loving you even when you feel weak,
Talk with Dr. Shani
It’s my joy to offer you a personal, complimentary Clarity Conversation of up to 45 minutes. You’ll come away clearer about what you’ve been struggling with, what you’d love your life to look like, and the best next steps to get you there.