I always encourage entrepreneurs to study their ideal clients – what are they dealing with? What are they saying? Where are they getting stuck? What is unsaid for them that you can give voice to that will make a difference?
So of course I study my clients as well. And myself. And I look for trends.
About 6 months ago or so I wrote these words on a post it note:
“Skipping the Grief”
And it’s finally time to talk about it.
It was sparked as all good things are, by me in tears.
I was in yoga class in final savasana when the tears began to fall. I’d had a strange series of events that week – specifically, men were flirting with me.
This may be great for some, but as I came out as gay just two years ago, for me it was terrifying. It was the first time this had happened so noticeably since I ‘switched teams.’ And as I moved through my yoga poses I was reflecting on it. I realized that it triggered me because I felt guilty. I felt guilty because these men would have no chance with me. I felt guilty for being gay.
Of course logically these men would have had no chance anyway, but that was irrelevant in those moments. I felt bad going through life without a sign or something.
As I really let myself get present to the parts of me that were still uncomfortable in my new ‘skin,’ I also got present to the wide range of expectations I’d had for myself and my life that had died with my new awareness. I’d never again have a traditional nuclear family. I’d never have a child that has a live-in father. I’d never… Fill in the blank.
Now, to be clear, I’m thrilled about all of this. I’m thrilled to have discovered what was missing in my own happiness, and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. But here was the issue: I’d skipped the grief.
And I’ve seen this as a trend with my clients as well. (Haha – not the ‘changing teams’ part, but skipping the grief).
See, if you’re a high achiever, and someone who is committed to seeing the good in your world, and someone who wants to move into the positive in order to keep generating results, you may be someone who skips the grief.
It’s not the first time I’ve been there. This time I needed to allow myself to grieve the life I ‘would have had.’ In the past it was death and divorce. I found all the good and the gifts in that time in my life, and chose to focus on that to move myself through it. This is a great strategy, yet if we don’t make time to grieve, the emotion will eventually have to surface and be processed.
I’ve watched clients lose parents, leave relationships, close businesses that they’ve outgrown, sell houses, and change cities, to name just a few. And we Aligned Entrepreneurs we like to move quickly, and sometimes we just move on. And this can be a great gift – many people get lost in the hallways of transition for more time than they can really ‘afford.’ So the ability to move forward is a gift.
Just pay attention for when the Universe gives you signals that it’s time to process. It could be as simple as a quick cry during yoga class, or it may be something to work through with some guidance, with someone to witness your grief. It was several years after my divorce, I’d forgiven everyone else involved, and I moved forward, and I needed to take time to acknowledge some of the hurt I’d skipped over in my quest for healing.
If we don’t do this work, we’ll build on a foundation of hurt, of anger, of sadness, of grief.
I’m sorry the world didn’t help you get there sooner.
I was sharing the story with a friend and her husband recently – the story of how “the Universe made me gay,” (i.e. revealed a Truth I hadn’t previously been willing to see.) I was sharing with a question. How might I actually use this story in my business? I shared the story when I first realized it, and I’ve shared it a few times in talks when it felt appropriate. (The story actually has tons of parallels around denying Truth in business).
But I hadn’t yet embraced, ‘this is now my story,’ and I wasn’t exactly sure why. As I shared, my friend’s husband said the most amazing thing. He first asked me this, “What would you need to hear to feel free around this story?” And I was struggling to come up with an answer to the question.
Intuitively, he said to me, with complete presence and generosity, looking me dead in the eyes, “I’m sorry that the world didn’t help you get there sooner.”
Of course this moved me to tears. And I realized he was right. On top of my grief I was carrying around a deep sadness that we live in a world in which a young girl in a small town would not even know how to consider options outside the norm.
And I extend that to a sadness that we live in a world in which most human beings I encounter were never encouraged to consider what they wanted, to explore their options, or to trust that they would be fully received if they chose to be who they really are.
The pain I witness on a regular basis as my clients find the courage to be themselves in their business is astounding.
Of course it’s all pain that’s made up by our inner five year old, and while that’s easy to see intellectually, it doesn’t make it easier to move through.
If you’re in a place where you are struggling to be who you are in any way – in your business, sharing your most important stories, charging for the value you know you deliver, expressing your point of view without abandon – or in your life, sharing what you really need in your relationship, releasing a relationship even though no one will understand, having a visibly big life when you were taught to stay small.
If you are in any of these places, I’d like to say to you as you step into your Truth, “I am sorry that the world didn’t help you get there sooner.”
I invite you to grieve the lost years. Acknowledge how you feel. Let the tears fall, and clear your energy field to build upon a space of nothing, rather than a pile of sadness or resentment.
Just for today, don’t skip the grief.