Do you need more compassion in your world? Build your tribe.
A close group of supporters does more than meet your emotional needs. The Mayo Clinic reports that there is a quantifiable health effect, helping reduce depression, body mass index and high blood pressure.
Shauna Niequist, author of “Bitterwseet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way,” described the kind of profound, heartfelt understanding that your tribe can give:
“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyway. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”
Philippa thought she would find her tribe over the Summer. She had so much fun on a weekend kayaking trip that she signed up for 10 days in the San Juan Islands. Her vacation photos were fantastic. The backstory? Not so good.
She shook her head and said, “When I booked the trip, I was sure I’d have a lot in common with everyone. That was wishful thinking! I wasn’t ready for some of my traveling companions. First up was the pair of chatty sisters, but I soon learned their chit-chat was a long list of complaints. They were out of sorts about something breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then one of the guys somehow always landed in my radius. He was a little too close for comfort,” she continued. “And finally there was the lady who was nice as she could be…when she spoke. Which wasn’t often.”
“After a few days, I looked around after a long dinner and thought, ‘This is the Table of Nope!’ she laughed. “They were nice people; they just weren’t for me. I decided to catch a ferry back from Orcas Island and use the rest of the time for a staycation. Cocktails on the patio, long lunches with close friends… The last week of the Summer was phenomenal!”
The November series, Love Yourself Up is focusing on showing ourselves compassion, a core Soul Boss idea. Like Philippa, your journey to find your no-matter-what people may include a few bumps. However, that’s the very moment to choose kindness over criticism and regret.
Imagine a friend saying, “Whoops – I’ve made a mistake. One that I can course correct. This isn’t the group for me. I’m going to check out before I make myself or anyone else miserable.” Wouldn’t you applaud them for skipping past blame and facing the future with their sense of humor intact? In a word, that’s grace.
So start by cutting yourself and everyone involved some slack. Release any hard feelings or sadness. And for heaven’s sake, give yourself credit for trying.
The next time things don’t go according to plan, don’t fuss and fight. Make the gentle choice: Surrender.