Potential

We are all here trying to figure ourselves out, just trying to patch up the cracks and breaks in our heart and soul, just trying to deal with what feels heaviest within.

Sometimes, we try, and another person does not.

Sometimes, we care more than another cares.

Sometimes, we offer our skills, our knowledge and our lessons to another human being and they cannot absorb all that we are.

If someone you care for does not meet you where you are, you cannot keep asking them to do so. Because, we know that aching for someone to reach their potential before they are ready is a form of self-destruction that only you will carry.

Please stop trying to shrink into what you perceive that someone else needs. Let yourself be authentic, and your people will come. The world needs you at your truest self, versus carbon-copies of our lesser-selves.

Stop pouring your energy into a vessel that cannot contain it. Rather, send it out to the world with the acceptance and excitement of reciprocity.

Send out what is good, and goodness will return to you.

But when someone or something does not see all the light and goodness coming from you, do not force it. They are not ready to accept or see it for what it is. It is not their time.

Healing and feeling

Healing requires feeling.

If you are in the midst of healing, odds are that you are experiencing a range of moods—-motivation, frustration, resentment, sadness, grief, impatience, excitement, hope, hopelessness, etc.

What you may not realize is that healing requires feeling your way through whatever has impacted or affected you. All of those feelings serve a purpose, and often do not appear in a linear way.

Healing ebbs and flows, and has the power to surprise and disarm. The feelings may change, grow or pass without warning, and yet it is important to honor whatever feeling arises as a guest in your experience.

Let the feelings settle (briefly), with the awareness that all of them are there temporarily, and if you feel them, then allow them to leave, you can learn the lesson they are teaching you, which ushers in more peace and self-awareness.

That is the healing.

It’s not the mental load. It’s you.

I hear this saying all the time.

The “mental load”, which describes the invisible (yet pretty obvious to those afflicted) burden that is often attributed to being in or running a household.

Truth be told, I have felt the annoyance, exhaustion and frustration of having to remember, plan and execute each facet of my family’s day. It exists. But that’s not the point. Lots of things exist, but it only continues if you allow it to continue.

So, instead of “making lists to better organize yourself” and “ sending your spouse/partner step by step instructions- so YOU can relax” I’m going to suggest something radical and although it appears as a list, you don’t have to write one yourself, I promise.

-SPEAK YOUR TRUTH.

-HAVE A REAL CONVERSATION WITH YOUR SPOUSE/PARTNER.

-STOP CONTROLLING THE PROCESS

-UNLOAD AND THEN LET IT GO

Simple? Maybe not-depending on your relationship.

You are not a mind-reader, and neither is your significant other. Stop acting like a victim whilst angrily unloading the clean dishes or stomping around with a laundry basket.

Using “when you _____, I feel ______” to articulate how you feel and express what you need.

Shut up before you comment on how the tasks or chores get done. You don’t want to be treated like the boss, so stop dictating every move.

Once you’ve shared your piece, you have to let it sit for a bit.

If you choose to acknowledge the “mental load”, but refuse to address it, all you are going to do is further divide your relationship, and foster bitterness and resentment.

So instead, maybe try these strategies.

Show up.

I hear so many excuses from people.

“I don’t know what to say”,

“I don’t want to make it worse”

“what if they cry?”

“You don’t understand how awkward I am. I can’t imagine how I would be helping them.”

Listen up, people.

The people who love you will see any effort to connect with them as a blessing.

You don’t need to bring anything other than yourself (and maybe a hot beverage- people love hot beverages) to check in on someone.

You don’t need to have a cure, a set of answers, a slew of strategies, a list of resources, or even that many words to show up and connect.

You are pre-approved.

You do not have to overthink this.

Show up.

People remember and value those who show up.

Advice

There are three things you must always ask yourself before you say anything.

• Does this need to be said?

• Does this need to be said by me?

• Does this need to be said by me now?

These three questions have saved me from myself for YEARS.

As a counselor these questions save me from talking for the client, allowing for the space needed to build trust and actively listen.

As a professor these questions stop me from taking over how students perceive the lesson that I’m teaching. This technique opens up the group dialogue and encourages those hesitant “cheap seat” students who prefer to remain unseen. This key difference from facilitating and teaching requires me to consider myself in the process of their understanding.

As a wife, this technique saves me from stage-hogging the stories that my introverted husband brings to our social time, and let’s him shine. It also takes the heat off of the self-imposed,people-pleaser storyteller side of me, giving me time to recharge.

As a friend, this technique has changed how I select and maintain the close friendships I have in my life. Currently some friends close to me are experiencing some deeply challenging things, and my ability to pause and consider how my responses will impact them has given me a profound empathy for their difficulties. I am more connected and considerate than ever before, but also see that by using this technique of emotional intelligence/self-awareness, I’m actually not offering advice.

Advice gets me into situations I don’t like.

Another strategy I’ve used since entering in to Academia has been to ask:

“Do you want friend Mallory, Counselor Mallory or Professor Mallory?”

This question simplifies my responses greatly.

Friend Mallory is going to listen and cheerlead.

Counselor Mallory is going to listen, but also will want to pull strategies from her ‘bag of tricks’.

Professor Mallory is going to somehow tie your current state of being to either childhood shit or some sort or preadolescent trauma, but will also give you a referral for some help, so I can get back to being ‘friend Mallory’.

We know that rarely can my saying something (or giving advice) actually make someone feel better. Often (ok most) times advice is clouded by criticism. So it’s best to know if someone is seeking to vent, process, or really wants to know how to fix things in their life.

FOR THE RECORD: If they ask for your advice, but choose not to take it, you DO NOT get to then hold those bits of advice over their head. If you are truly offering your support and friendship, you don’t get to keep score. It took me a very long time to learn this.

Spoiler alert: Most of the time, people just want to vent.

Let their therapist help them fix themselves. Odds are you aren’t qualified.

Note to my fellow helpers: The best gift you can give someone you love, is a GOOD referral to a therapist or someone objective that won’t be tempted to give advice, but instead will inform, empower and encourage. We should all be so lucky.

❤️

Mallory