I woke up today feeling defeated. Sad. Hopeless. Unsure of what to do next.
If we’re new friends, you may not know that my wife, Melissa, and I have been in the process of building a tiny house for 18 months, and we’ve been hit with setback after setback.
Over the last two weeks, we’ve been making arrangements for our under-construction home to be relocated 75 miles north of us to a contractor who was to help us build out the interior. Melissa spent countless hours on the phone and in email figuring out how to register and insure a tiny house on wheels, and I researched and contracted a hauling company to move it for us.
The move was set to happen on January 30. That was until the contractor, out of nowhere, emailed Melissa to say he has chosen to decline the project. This, after encouraging us for months to move it up to him.
So often, Melissa and I feel alone in this pursuit of our dream because not a lot of people understand what it takes to build a tiny house, and when we look for support, many want to offer solutions instead of just a sympathetic ear. Then we have to go into explanations about why their suggestion won’t work for our unique situation and it takes us away from our feelings.
Don’t get me wrong — solutions are great and we’d love nothing more than for someone to swoop in and save the day, but sometimes you just want to be pissed or sad and have a safe place to feel.
Then I received this text from my sister, Lisa:
“I’m so sorry that your contractor backed out. Keep the faith. He wasn’t meant for the job. Sending you a big hug. It will get done.”
I instantly started to cry. This simple text meant so much. It reminded me that we’re not alone; that it is ok to wallow before taking action; and that someone is willing to be our mold as we feel shaky.
Sometimes a kind, understanding word is all it takes to help you stay the course toward fulfilling your dreams. Or someone simply acknowledging your feelings. Anytime you can feel less alone is a time when you’re more likely to make some bold moves.
The power of support can’t be overstated. When you’re in community, you get to feed off others’ energies and can lean on their beliefs. Right now, I’m leaning on my Lisa’s belief. Her follow up text reminded me that Melissa and I aren’t quitters. That we forge ahead. So for now, she’ll be my mold, at least until my belief returns.
I see this all the time in the courses I teach: powerful women (and sometimes a few brave men!) coming together and supporting each other around what can be an incredibly vulnerable area: the pursuit of dreams and the clearing of what stands in your way, whether that’s physical, emotional, or mental clutter.
Many struggle with shame around clutter and believe it’s an indication that you’re lazy, disorganized, or incapable, but when you come together with others who feel the same, you’re able to see things more objectively. And you get to experience how great it feels to be with people who get it.
My mental clutter was up big time when we received the contractor’s email. The chatter was telling me to give up; throw in the towel; you’ll never get it done; etc, etc. So I gave my fear space to be heard. I journaled out my frustration in BIG, SWEARY LANGUAGE.
And then I let myself wallow.
And then Melissa and I brainstormed new options.
Because when you respect your fear and shame enough to listen to what they have to say, they can become powerful allies. Ignore them or stuff them down and they’ll find a very unpleasant way to get your attention. Once you get beneath the whining and squawking, you get to the wisdom, and it’s that wisdom that will help you find the light in the dark. You’ll find that you’re never alone because your biggest supporter is YOU.
So when life kicks you in the gut, take some time to pout before expecting yourself to get back on the horse. You’ll be better for it.