Reaching out. When you are at the end of your rope, do you pick up the phone and call a friend, or just put on your jammies, grab some cookies, and turn on Netflix?
You know connecting with a friend will make you feel better than a night on the couch.
But in the short term, sometimes it feels easier to reach for the remote than the phone. Why is that?
Reaching out sounds so simple, but sometimes you hesitate. Do you
- Hold back because you don't want to impose on your friends' time or disrupt their day?
- Feel like it would take more energy than you have to make a meaningful connection?
- Worry that it's not fair to dump your baggage on them?
- Contact the special people in your life far less frequently than you think of them?
Thoughts like these lead to self-isolation, which is dangerous. People are wired to connect. You need other people. We all do. (Even the introverts. Introverts need people as much as extroverts do, just in different doses.)
Jeannine Moga is a veterinary social worker. I invited her to talk with me about the benefits and challenges of reaching out.
You encounter so many heart-wrenching situations with the animals you care for (and their people). It's difficult, draining work, and it can be tempting to try to build walls around your heart in an attempt to protect yourself.
But it won't work. (Darn it!)
You need two or three special people in your life. (Jeannine calls them "the witnesses.")
These are the go-to people you can call when you are having a terrible, rotten, very bad day.
Your witnesses won't minimize your pain or your problems. They won't judge your feelings or your decisions. And they won't try to fix things or point out the bright side for you.
They'll be there to listen to you. To hear you out. To walk beside you and remind you that you are strong and valued and worthy. (Sometimes you might forget that.)
Who are your witnesses?
If you don't have them now, you need to start looking for them. Everybody needs someone in their corner.
The people you work with are built-in networks, so they can be a good place to start.
Even if you don't become close friends with your co-workers, it's worth investing some time and energy into building positive connections. Finding moments of humor and joy throughout the day can have enormous benefits for your wellbeing.
Thanks for Listening!
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