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Step Forward, Lean In, And Open Up

Step Forward, Lean In, And Open Up

I remember a very important moment of healing that occurred between my family and me, which now serves as an inspiration I feel guided to share with you.

It occurred after many years of rather awkward holiday visits. Time after time, I’d walk into a family gathering feeling more like the spiritual black sheep of the family than an invited guest. People would offer small talk and while they did their best to put on a "nice face," I could feel the sensation of judgment they were doing their best to not speak out loud. This made me feel unsafe about opening up, which, I’m sure, also made our interactions less comfortable for them.

But inevitably, there was a breakthrough. It came once I created enough space and distance from my own expectation of their awakening and evolution. I remember thinking to myself, “Since I’m the main character in my life’s movie, I’m really the only one meant to evolve from my perspective. If I insist on other people evolving first, I am choosing to be a supporting actor in my own life’s movie.” As this insight dawned, I challenged myself to focus on my own evolution, rather than righteously expect greater awareness from them. As this occurred, I remember being compelled to have rather candid conversations with family members. One interaction at a time, I shared how awkward and invisible I felt in their presence. Despite feeling deeply judged, I found the inspiration to apologize for my part, recognizing that I had chosen to shut down rather than communicate openly, regardless of their perceptions of me.

As I took the time to openly and honestly communicate more, not less, a surprising shift occurred. They were not only welcoming of my sharing but admitted that they were afraid to share menial human details out of a fear of being judged by a spiritual person. In truth, both sides experienced feelings of judgment, rooted not in the actions of the other, but in our own fears and insecurities.

Sure, my family is far from perfect, but we each represent a side of reality that helps the other find a greater depth of balance. Since these healing conversations occurred, I have served my role in helping them dip their toes into a spiritual realm they assume is weird and scary. Equally so, they have helped me integrate my spiritual self, so to convey my highest wisdom through a language of emotions, instead of getting lost in cyclical expressions of mystical jargon. Now, my family feels secure in genuinely engaging with my journey, mirroring my sincere interest in their lives, each of us recognizing the diverse ways Spirit reveals itself.

I offer this candid share of my personal journey to inspire any healing that may occur when you take responsibility for your side of conflict and distance. While there is no doubt that we each carry wounds, perhaps they aren’t entirely created by other people’s actions, but preserved and perpetuated by the ways in which we avoid communication versus opening to share. You certainly may not get the reaction you hope for or even a warm response, but in truth, your healing mainly occurs by what you are willing to authentically admit out loud in the presence of others, regardless of their reflection. And, of course, if wounding exists with people who have harmed you, perhaps a letter or email is the safest approach. Again, none of this share is prescriptive, I am merely inviting you to take inventory of any lingering conflicts and to decide if admitting your contribution of distance is worth expressing—whether those you are in relationship with join you in authenticity by choosing to heal, or not.

I can only convey how much better I felt once I broached the subject; a feeling far more powerful than how afraid I was to initially share my feelings. Once I was willing to step forward, lean in, and be the first to open up, I directly observed that the social skeletons in my mental closet were nothing more than people, equally scared and feeling unworthy, masquerading in costumes that appeared more intimidating than they truly were. While this step requires a trusting of your instincts and boundaries if interactions get precarious, remember, repeating the same actions can only lead to the same outcomes.

As you consider how uncomfortable you are willing to be in exchange for true connection on the other side, I invite you to view interactions with others as if it's the last time you will ever see them. At what level of depth and authenticity would you like that moment to occur?

What can you share from your depth of vulnerability that may give them permission to open up further?

Can you spend less time calling others out in the name of truth, and more time honoring truth by sharing the feelings that cause you to be the way you are?

Whether another person owes you an apology or not, what if you shared with them the feelings that have caused you to withdraw or withhold?

What if you shared more openly with no attachment to how they respond, if at all?

What if sharing more openly celebrates your level of awareness regardless of the wounds, fears, and patterns others may be buried in?

While you always have the right to choose who you spend time with and for whatever length of time resonates with you, each moment with others gives you a chance to focus on your personal growing edge of expansion and how much brighter of a light you are willing to be. It doesn’t mean being hurt was ok and that how things unfolded was fair. Beyond the battlefield of finger-pointing, there is an olive branch of perspective, where you are blessed to become untethered from the residue of conflict by daring to be more open and compassionate than however the past transpired.

Even if you are inspired to take a moment and contemplate where this wisdom may fit into your life, it doesn’t have to be the biggest step you take, even if you need to approach it slowly. All that matters is that you are willing to advocate for your feelings, develop the courage to share more directly, and allow others to potentially benefit from the openness you share. You may find yourself just as astonished by which versions of your friends and family show up, just as I was, once pulling away became a radical opportunity to boldly lean in.

I invite you to sit with this invitation and see what it's meant to reveal. I fully trust your heart will know exactly why you have read this and when the perfect moment will be to apply its wisdom. I am grateful for the chance to share it with you. I’m a better version of myself because of it.

All for love,

Matt Kahn

© Copyright 2024 Matt Kahn All For Love 

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