Brownness

On Unsaid/Unmet Expectations

This past month I finished I finished Brene Browns Atlas of the Heart which struck a deep chord inside me as it discussed that much of our conflict with loved ones occurs due to unsaid or unmet expectations. It takes time, presence, patience, and taking a deep look at ourselves to determine that the fight over connection is truly about. When our significant other asks for something, and we resist or dismiss the request, what else is really going on there?

I know I like to avoid conflict, yet that avoidance does not serve me in my relationships as it can make others feel not heard or seen. It is painful to be called out, or hear grievances, and far too often, I am too busy preparing a counterpoint rather than listening for the unsaid or unmet expectation. And it goes the other way, too. When I fail to express what I truly feel or state my expectation, it sets up perfectly an argument that is all surface, mean-spirited, and unhelpful, adding layers on unnecessary pain and hurt instead of providing the relief of true communication.

None of what I read was new, but I know constant reminders of better communication is the only way to build the muscle for connection. I get to learn to not hide or avoid, to make the eye contact even as my body floods with emotions, and I just want to run away or become a quiet ninja. It did not occur to me how painful that can be for the other who is trying to share their feelings.

It is always a challenge to put to practice new or difficult things, and I realize just like working out physically, connected communication requires continual work, and sharing. It is also important to let the other know what you are up to so they can hold you accountable, and perhaps, just maybe, do the same when talking to you. Just like anything, it takes time, and also constant awareness, but I also know the rewards of doing the work.

And so I begin, and hopefully, I can express my unmet/unsaid expectations and also hear the other persons.

Happy Monday!

Brownness

On Mattering

This past weekend, I missed a good friends 50th in Vegas, and while I felt the FOMO hard as I saw the multiple texts and images, I also felt good in my decision to stay back due to a personal situation that required me to stay close to home. And that missed trip allowed me to go to a local event to another dear friend’s annual event simply called the Kundani Cookout. It’d been a few years since I’d gone, but it was a chance to reconnect with old friends and also make new acquaintances, something I am loath to do as I go into the forced trope of asking “what do you do” or “how do you know xyz” person which guarantees a stilted conversation.

I have never quite managed to be a great networker as I am content to stay in the background, and just blend in or so I thought until the host of the event decided to call me up for his speech and proceed to tell them how I’d influenced him to make a major decision when he was out a bit out of sorts. My first instinct was to shrink away from the attention, but then it hit me that part of growing up is taking in the good with the bad, to allow myself to be acknowledged, to know why he kept inviting me everyone year, has been such a wonderful resource to me in my legal career, to get that he is paying me back not just with words like I did, but action, and it humbled me.

It reminded me that even when we think we are taking small actions, they can have major repercussions in other’s lives, that words matters but more than that, it’s the intention with which they are delivered can have a massive impact. And so this was my lesson for the weekend, and the FOMO disappeared in an instant, and I basked in the realization people remember the good you do to them even if they don’t show it.

It made it clearer that when I despair on whether I am making an impact or not, or being hard on myself for things I didnt get done, I still managed to support others in their dreams and goals, and I will take that as a win any day!

Happy Monday!

Brownness

On Time Passing

Birthdays and anniversaries are a great way to take stock of one’s life. I know for me it becomes apparent that I need to do a life review upon those type of events. Not just milestone anniversaries or big birthdays, but annually because it begs for a moment to reflect where one is at. This past weekend marked our eleventh year anniversary, and while not a milestone by any stretch of the imagination, it definitely gave me a chance to reconnect, reflect, and review on what I have learned in my eleven years. The short answer: I got a ways to go. The other is that more I learn to communicate effectively, the better my chances on reducing misunderstanding, hurt or disagreement.

It’s a lesson I am still learning because what’s clear to me from the outset is not necessarily clear for others. Assuming the person is on the same wavelength is setting myself up to fail (which happens). Not expressing my feelings in a clear way is guaranteeing an argument. Quietly listening but not responding as acknowledgement can make others feel not heard or seen. Not speaking about what’s really going on with me is a recipe for heated disagreement on the the wrong facts.

And so I continue to learn, and hopefully grow. I still remember a line from my MITT training, what am I pretending not to know, and for me, that is that I am communicating clearly when I am more content being silent, and waiting by some miracle to figure things out. Talking it out, no matter how difficult, is the way to get to clarity and so I get to keep working on that.

Yet anniversaries are great reminders that we are plugging along, learning, growing, loving, and facing new things on the horizon.

Brownness

On Uncertainty

Another quiet morning, A new week begins. The tasks written down for the week along with the daily ones spelled out for today yet uncertainty prevails. A growing anxiety for new things never done, new learnings, a distant future coming closer, another anniversary, planning for upcoming travel, I waver and keep thinking of all the things that need to be taken care of, the people to support, the goals to be achieved.

Over and over, I go over the things, my dreams filled with to do lists, but the foundation is the uncertainty, of not knowing how it will all turn out, even though experience tells me that usually things are never as bad or as difficult as I expect them to be. So really the not being sure is more a low level anxiety that pushes me forward, ensures that I don’t take things for granted. Too much of those feelings can stifle me, make me hesitant to take even a simple step or move me to procrastinate or engage in social media rather than real work.

And so it comes down to becoming aware, to focusing on the present, to defining or fleshing things out or diving into the tasks, slashing away the web of inaction and worry, creating new steps, new ways to get to my destination. There are times when the repetition of these feelings exhausts me, makes me want to continue to snooze, to lay in bed and get back to dreamless sleep, but the pounding brain and heart thrum with uncertainty so, in defeat, I fling the the blanket and get up to face the day.

And in this morning quiet, a steely determination grows, to fight the vines of uncertainty, to cut them away with tasks, action, and acknowledgment. I start a new day, inviting the lack of certainty to guide me to new goals, dreams and growth.

Brownness

On Patience

This past weekend, I got a lesson in patience as I house sat for my family and their dog.I realized my preconceptions made it much harder to be patient until I just let go and accepted things as they were not as I wished them to be. Over and over, the lessons present to me the same thing that once I go into acceptance, my patience increases tenfold. It is when I worry or make up stuff in my head then do I make myself feel worse, and create extra unneeded tension.

I admit I am getting better at it. No longer does my heart pound when a new client walks in with a new situation, and no longer do I feel like am imposter as a lawyer. I see large leaps in the person I have become after deciding to take a private clients and so now I stretch further in my personal life. This weekend became a great reminder that letting go of anxiety is the surest way to enjoy the present and what looked like a challenge turned in well not much of anything.

Yet I do still seem to fall into this pattern of overthinking and not accepting the way things are rather than how I wish them to be. I realize that I do myself no favors when I insist on the world being a certain way or allow my thoughts to dominate me rather than taking the time to step back and just take it in. I remind myself that patience is not just for others but for myself as well. Then when I fail to check in with my impatience, I miss the opportunity to consider what is really going on with me.

Only in the quiet of the morning do I learn the same lessons but in a different way. I get to patient not only with others but myself which allows me to grow and become a better version of myself.

Brownness

On Saying Goodbye

We all know the cliches, its not goodbye, its see you later or until we meet again, but to the ones facing the loss, these types of words and sentiments are pretty useless. What I found supportive are just friends being around to discuss stories, have quick laughs and crys and then back again to that circle. It is how we keep memories alive of the person, first in the moments then day to day and then that person really never disappears because they are all around you. The worst part is the ones who tell you to be strong or want to know the hows and why, their morbid curiosity more important than their empath in that moment, one that makes me want to shove people out the door.

Yet it is important to remember that the ones that do show up and stick around, they are the ones that matter, the ones who show by just being around that it is okay to fall apart, to cry until the tears run dry but you can’t stop. The reality is that more and more death is around me as I get older and unfortunately now I am becoming more and more comfortable with the etiquette of death, but I truly wish I didnt know, that I was back in the bliss of ignorance but others dont have that luxury any longer.

It is hard to witness the ones who have to bear the loss far longer than you, because we have the choice to leave and let them be with their grief. My only goal when in attendance is not to amplify that sorrow in any way, to just be there, ready to share, hug, listen and just be present and not make it about it in any sort of way. It can be hard to hear others give useless advice when a person is in deep grief, but it hits m that just like my goal is to be presents, theirs could be to just get them to heal faster. The reality, the only thing that will help is remembrance and slow agonizing time to dull the pain which never really goes away. But that’s okay too because saying goodbye to a loved one is never an option.