Last week, I shared the first part of this two-part blog. I shared two ways to stay hopeful when you're in the middle of process, and I recommend reading that to gain some context for today. Read it here.
Let's be honest, process can be painful. It can be ugly. It can put your life on hold. It can suck.
But the fruit is always worth it. If you're in a season of process, let go of your need for control. That will make this much easier.
On Instagram, I shared that it feels like I've been in continual process for months. That's just the truth. I'm in a pile of crap up to my neck that I'm wading through. And that's okay.
Because being honest with yourself is the first step to getting the most out of your process.
When we are honest with ourselves about where we are and how we're doing - no sugar coating it, no BS - then we give ourselves the opportunity to be present in the mess and experience the most transformation.
If we pretend that everything is fine and our life is all rainbows and unicorns when it's really not, we're just running from pain. And pain not expressed has to be expressed one way or the other.
Do we want a little pain now to get healing, or do we want a whole lot of pain later on when we're forced to face the crap we've been avoiding?
Let's not do that. It's hard, it's so painful, but it will be worth it.
Here are three ways to stay hopeful in the process. (Read steps 1 and 2 here.)
3. Realize that messy is okay
I often feel like my mess is too ugly. Like the crap I'm working through is too much for me to handle. Like I might never reach the other side of the ocean of crap I'm swimming through.
But we have to stop holding ourselves to a perfect standard.
We have to give ourselves permission to be messy and gross. We have to give ourselves permission to not have a clue about what's going on inside. We have to give ourselves permission to be an emotional train wreck and not try to fix it.
Fixing the pain isn't the solution; feeling it is.
When I'm feeling pain, my first instinct is to be a mechanic and try to "fix" it. But fixing the pain isn't the solution; feeling it is. Processing the pain and really leaning into it is about the only way that I know to get past it.
We need to have grace for ourselves to be messy. And we need to know that our mess is not too big, it's not too ugly, and it's not going to kill our dreams. Keep pushing forward.
4. Ask for help
I often feel like I fake for even saying this, because it's one of the things I'm most terrified of. I'm terrified about asking for help and allowing others to see into my process.
Asking for help takes so much courage. It takes guts. It takes a real man or woman to ask for help.
I'm nowhere near being good at this, but I do know that whenever I do reach out to a mentor or a close friend and allow them to see into my mess, I always feel better. I feel bolder. And it takes shame out of the picture.
Asking for help takes shame out of the picture.
We were never meant to do this alone. We were meant to life in community. Authentic community is messy. It's not perfect. But it's so life-giving, because when you can be yourself in all your mess, that's what life is all about.
All we need is one person who knows what we're going through.
So this week, reach out to a trusted friend and let them into your world. Kick fear in the balls. Show it who's boss. Who's the boss? You!
That's right. You're the boss of your life. Don't let fear dominate and control you any longer. It ends today.
5. Journal about everything
And I mean everything. Journaling is the best way that I've found, with the help of friends and mentors, to process whatever is that I'm going through.
When I write down my feelings - even if my writing is an incoherent mess of words and sentences all jumbled together - I put them in the light.
When we can be completely honest with ourselves when we're alone, and write down everything down that we're thinking or feeling, it invites healing to come.
You can't heal something that you can't see.
You can't heal something that you don't acknowledge exists. In order to get the most out of our process and come out stronger on the other side, we need to be honest, vulnerable, and real.
Both with ourselves, and with trusted loved ones.
Start by writing about it, then talk about it. That's part of the answer to staying hopeful in the process, because when you can see and talk about what you're feeling, it takes so much pressure off your shoulders.
Practical Next Steps
This week, tell at least one person about something you have shame about or are struggling with. Just one person, that's all you need. Don't let shame control your life. We need community and accountability in our lives in order to fulfill our calling. Thinking that we can do it alone is cancerous to our future.