Choosing Courage over Comfort
This was originally published September 27, 2021
I used to be concerned with making other people feel safe to the point of obsession.
I used to stress myself to the point of dysfunction over whether or not people felt safe coming to me about important things.
And while it’s still important to me to be available to process hard and important things with people, something that I came to realize is that it didn’t matter how kind, how pliable, how gracious and open I left myself, how willing I was to bend myself for other’s comfort, to be the most accountable person to everyone else (I suppose at the expense of myself):
It was actually way more about the courage and willingness of others to face their own anxiety than it was about keeping myself perpetually open and available for others, or proving this availability to them.
Realizing this was liberating and illuminating. I can remain open, inviting, and kind- but I can also allow others to take responsibility for their own capacity to engage in mutual relationship with me.
Realizing this also opened up floodgates for grief to come through, seeing how in giving so much of myself to create open, mutual, and resilient relationships with others, I was allowing a lopsided dynamic to emerge. I was not seeing the ways that others were unwilling to step into their own bravery to meet me.
I thought for so long that healthy relationships were about comfort.
Now I realize that healthy relationships are about bravery.