Saturday, July 23, 2016

Things I need to hear right now:

These are the things I need to hear right now, so I'm telling them to myself. I'm in the midst of attending a conference on mental health advocacy, which has been a huge blessing in some ways, but really hard in others, especially when grappling with my social anxiety and the lies it tells me on repeat. So here it goes...I'm talking back:
  1. It’s okay not to talk to him. Or anyone. Don’t force it. Don’t push yourself and make yourself miserable with anxiety and pressure.
  2. But you’re strong and actually not that bad at talking to people, so I know you will talk to the people you need to.
  3. Sometimes the good work you need to do is not the good work you think you need to do, so let go of the networking you think you need to do and continue to have eyes open to the people who need to be encouraged. Maybe you’re not here to market yourself. Maybe you’re here to learn to be a more loving person.
  4. Stop planning out the conversation. Those wily little things have a way of getting away from what was planned, but that’s usually because they have much better places to go.
  5. You actually aren’t that bad at talking to people. You introduced yourself to that girl and pursued the conversation even when she didn’t keep it up.
  6. You actually aren’t that bad at talking to people. You have had at least two really good conversations about mental health in the last month where people finally asked about your story. You’re eloquent. You’re open and honest. You have some wisdom. You have some heavy and some light. You have a story.
  7. Your story is important and it was given to you for a reason. I know at times it’s been like a thorn in your hand that you can’t seem to get rid of so you just have to continue to hold, but I think it can also be a gift one day. I mean, if people had never left you alone, you wouldn’t have had the motivation to push past your social anxiety to reach out to people who are alone here.
  8. Maybe you’re not up there sharing your story and using your gifts like you want to be, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable or that you aren’t sharing too. Opening up to your friend, inviting your other friend with you, putting your writing out there, telling people what was really going on – those are the real acts of bravery. Those are the real moments of grace. No one needs to slam a poem to live poetry.
  9. You don’t have to talk to him. You don’t have to be there for that. You don’t have to feel the pressure. In the end, it’s all grace. There’s all so much beyond what you can see and know. There was a grander plan you could never see going on when you were suffering, as much as you hate to admit it at times. So don’t force things that don’t feel right. It’s never worked before, and maybe now is your time to just soak in truth and be. I’m not sure where God’s place is in my life or if I need to cast off this belief that it’s all in his hands and instead become the initiator of my own desires, but I can never seem to shake the feeling that he works things out according to his purposes.
  10. You did a good job talking to her. Maybe you didn’t answer or ask a question to impress the whole room, maybe no one saw your act of kindness in reaching out, but that’s what hope is built on: everyday people doing small acts of kindness.
  11. You are beautiful and you don’t need to put on some eyeliner or put down other people or attract his attention to make that true. It just is true.
  12. You are here for a reason. You are everywhere for a reason. That reason doesn’t have to be becoming known by gaining name recognition; it could be becoming known by others who you become more open with.
  13.  It’s okay if you’re not perfect. If you don’t overcome everything. If you don’t take all of the advice they give you. If you don’t follow the models laid out. Just keep listening to that inner voice. It hasn’t usually led you wrong, and you know you better than anyone else who has tried to dictate what you are and who you should be. 

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