Self-Care Tip #171 – Tell people when you fall.
Driving today, I was slowed by a driver ahead of me. I started to get irritated, (I know, “I can’t control this“), but then I noticed the car had bumper stickers supporting breast cancer. In less than a moment my mind grabbed memories of faces, feelings, conversations, stories and personal experiences in my memory relating to breast cancer and I suddenly felt a sense of empathy and some sadness. It left me a bit surprised and I reminded myself I was irritated at this driver. While trying to tease apart these seemingly opposing reactions, I realized I didn’t care much any more about the slowness. Mainly I wondered how there was breast cancer connected and I cared.
Providentially, Erin posted today on her blog-site, Healthy, Unwealthy, and Becoming Wise,
Falling finds friends.
I remembered the driver and you readers and thought, “It sure does. Especially when we let others know.”
I spent some time in Ecuador doing some clinical work and learning more Spanish between my second and third year of medical school. I was rarely alone, which frankly creeped me out a little. Being westernized, I was used to a huge amount of independence and anonymity. I wonder who I would be if I had grown up knowing someone was always involved in my life.
You might have heard the proverb asking,
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Water, water everywhere and nothing to drink.
I don’t want to be surrounded but not witnessed, connected or heard.
Telling people about our “falls,” cancer, depression, assault or what not, can feel creepy too, just like I felt loosing some of my anonymity in Ecuador. However, I now tell myself, “It’s just culture and I can grow. And I want to.” Culturally in the “West,” we think of telling about our falls as whining. That’s a misperception however and a disservice to all of us. Telling people when we fall is not whining. The act of telling and the act of whining aren’t contiguous unless we design them to be.
This morning when I saw those bumper stickers, it brought me into the drivers life and connected us. We are both a little less alone than we were. These last six months for me have been about taking down boundaries in my well defended life, and I am growing into the difference. Thank you readers and commenters for that.
Questions: What has telling others about your “falls” done for you? How has your culture influenced you in finding friends? Please tell me your story.