Is there somebody you can call up or connect with via whatever medium you have at your disposal that will be there unreservedly and without judgement. Not many of us will ever have that person and even if we are lucky enough to, perhaps at some point they move out of our life and suddenly we find ourselves 3am-less.
Right now I do and I don't - as if that makes sense! Eighteen months ago I did the Brene Brown Gifts of Imperfection course (highly recommended - see link below). In lesson 1 you are required to list the people whose opinions of you truly matter to you. Those people in your life who accept you as you are with all your flaws and foibles. They dispense advice but still support you even if you go in the complete opposite direction. They are your safe harbour when things get really tough and you know their support is unconditional and seeped in love and trust.
Easy task - heart drawn, names written on list, put in envelope, stuck down in journal and task completed.
Pffft... or so I thought. Here I sit 18 months down the line, revisiting the course as things have shifted in my life and stuck on this exercise, the one I thought would be a breeze.
It isn't that I don't have people that wouldn't necessarily belong on the list as they are there for me. It is that I have changed in the last 18 months and become more aware of who I share myself and my story with. It is also about me being conscious of who has a right to be a part of my story - people that I will be safe with. Part of authenticity is holding yourself accountable to yourself through boundaries. So if you continue to allow people to walk all over you when you know they have no interest in sharing what you hold true for yourself then YOU are not being true to yourself. And that is so true when it comes to who you invite into your life when sharing your story.
The list was also referred to as a personal War Council. So I'm pondering who I want on my War Council. Who do I want defending my back and whose back will I defend? Because that is part of what this list is about. It is those relationships that you will go through fire for and that you know in turn those people will do the same for you. Do I want to be nurturing a relationship where that support isn't mutual? I know in all relationships it is give and take and at times others can't always be there for you in the way you wish them to be but you have a way of knowing who will be there at crunch time in a way that matters and is supportive. These are the things you have to look at when considering your list. Too often I have found myself sacrificing myself for people who wouldn't think twice about throwing me out.
As my list stands now one person from last year is off the list and it is a total surprise and enigma to me why. Perhaps as I continue on this journey I will eventually understand fully but right now I know our paths have diverged totally through circumstance. Whilst still close I now choose to be selective about what I share about my journey. This is all about growth for me. As hard as it has been for me to accept I need to understand that I have to practise authenticity and self-compassion towards myself and that means my inner circle needs to be one that strengthens me. I cannot continue the self-sacrifice in the hopes that the other person will come around. It doesn't work like that.
I belong to a group - I will call them the PS Ladies on my blog - who have been on this journey with me through the Brene Brown course and following through with the Artist Way course. Some of them too have found themselves in states of flux with their list and it gives me reassurance to know I am not the only person who is feeling a tad 'empty listed'. We are our own special War Council and I'm grateful I have them to bounce these questions off of. It has added a different dimension to my life. Don't be afraid to look for unique connections. You may just be surprised at what life throws at you.
Right now I am content not to focus on filling this list. Any hint of hesitation of whether a person should be on this list means that they shouldn't and I think I need to venture a bit further down this road before I commit myself. I have support and nurturing from people who love and care for me deeply. And I care for and love them deeply in return and would have their backs in any situation and they know this but I am not ready to say 'here is my list' - even just to myself - and I am being, for once, authentic to myself.
As I travel my road I will ponder what it is I'm looking for in that 3am person - a few non-negotiables would be:
- Love (friendship - even if that person is a romantic love)
My journey has been up to now hard. I've made decisions and choices that few would agree with. I've lived situations that even fewer can comprehend so it is important for me that my 3am people accept this part of me wholeheartedly and know that it has shaped the woman I am today. I will make no apologies or excuse for the decisions and paths I have chosen as I am finally accepting the truth that "I did the best I could with what I had at my disposable at that particular moment in time and that if that is good enough for me and I can live with it then so can others". If a person in my life cannot then I cannot hold them to me but I will not allow it to shame me into feeling I did wrong.
I think we are all searching for that 3am person. To be human means to connect and we are always on a search for those connections. We are just trained to accept less than we deserve in a desperate attempt to be a part of something because if we dare to strike out alone we are cast aside and ridiculed for not being following societies rules. I am learning that this false connection just for the sake of it is not the right way to go and I've let go of friendships over the past 18 months as a result. That is hard, but necessary. To be authentic and live a mindful life every one of those connections I bring into my life now has to have meaning and bring me joy. And I refuse to believe it is impossible to attain this.
To my future 3am people know you will be treasured and loved, appreciated and nurtured and that I will always treasure the connections.