Parts 3&4: Lessons from a Trip Around the Sun
I fell behind with the holidays and did not post about the lessons for two days. This one is a two for one deal where I am sharing the next two lessons I took away from the last year.
Days 3 & 4 out of 15
Lesson 3: Vulnerability is Strength
Lesson 4: Ubuntu
Vulnerability is Strength
I am the first person to crack a joke and change the subject when things get emotional and raw. So this year, I have learned to not be fearful of my emotions but embrace them enough and give them space to exist while not allowing them to run the show. Which truthfully is part of my fear is that if I allow my emotions and vulnerability to show, I would be seen as weak and lose control. What I have embraced and recognize is that being honest about my feelings shows my strength to be authentic and that it's ok to have tough moments where we aren't always put together.
This lesson has also been what I realize I see as strength in others. Particularly, I look for this level of strength in the men in my life. For too long I had men who were emotionally unavailable try to lead me and the truth is I never fully followed and didn't realize why.
In the past year I have met so many men through work, my podcast and in other venues and their leadership was clear because of their ability to be openly honest and vulnerable, while also exuding a quiet confidence. It's the opposite of what society has categorized as "strong men". This strength has nothing to do with power over people, instead it's power with people around them.
So the men who show up authentically with decisive actions and energy that shows confidence while still being soft and gentle with the people around them, have mastered the way vulnerability is strength.
I learned that I have to embody that lesson for myself, and that I want that to be the type of men I raise and the man who I decide to be my partner in life.
Ubuntu is the Zulu word that encapsulates the idea of our collective humanity and the way it is woven in a tapestry of community and care. The meaning of the word is, "I am because we are". I have always believed this and lived my life around the idea of community and being surrounded by a village.
However, when things became hard for me, in the past I had been reluctant to reach out to others and get help. So in many ways, I believed in Ubuntu, but my socialized messages of strength and weakness made me think that if I reached out for help, I would be needy and it meant I didn't have the ability to take care of myself and my children alone.
This lesson was big, because once I let go of that I was blessed with not only the support of the friends who had been in my life for many years, I expanded my tribe to so many more people. Each person has given me insight to help me grow mentally, spiritually and physically. But the big lessons on Ubuntu were a few specific moments that carried me through some of those challenges.
It started with the real talk from a friend I was reluctant to see because I knew her tough love methods required me to be ready for whatever she would say. But she came over and reminded me to be honest with myself about my accountability in decisions I have made. In fact, the encounter led me to write the post, Welcome to the Dark Side.
Then there were the two women who know me so well as my sisters in life. Whether it was because I was hurt emotionally or physically, both of them first fussed at me first for not reaching out sooner, and then went right back to being my supportive friends who have my back and love me through my darkest moments.
My sons showed up in a way I could never have foreseen given how last year ended and 2022 started.
The evolution of our own family dynamics helped me to see the foundations and lessons of Ubuntu living and breathing in my home through my children and also inspired more writing in Rising Sons. I have been able to see them evolve and to witness the men I raised bringing the importance of connection and humanity to the way they live their lives.
Then there is my producer and friend. The network he is building embodies Ubuntu in a way that transforms business relationships. His guidance led me to building something long lasting of my own and brought me into a beautiful soul tribe of creators, healers and like minded people who believe in the power of network weaving. Everything I have created has been with the support and encouragement of my expanding village.
Ubuntu is how communities thrive, build and protect each other. In the past year it became the source of holding a mirror up to myself, picking me off the floor when I was at my lowest, the philosophy I passed down to my children and the main reason I survived and grew in 2022 at the pace and level that I did.