Start your Tuesday with #ActivationTuesdays, live on our Facebook group.
What’s the Holy Purpose of Despair?
(And you can apply this to all emotions.)
When you experience despair, it’s usually because who you knew yourself to be is no longer totally accurate. Some old identity is in the midst of shedding.
You don’t have a clear sense of who you are, or what’s possible, or where you can go.
The despair you may feel in this process comes from isolation and feeling alone.
And then there’s the wandering around in the wilderness of “who am I now?”…
The thing is, none of us can see ourselves clearly, so you can’t answer that on your own.
Your self-inquiry and self-discovery must include both introspection and intimacy in relationship.
The path out of despair and isolation is to move back into relationship.
It’s a call to be in community – to be with people who can truly see you and hold up a mirror and say, “Here’s what I see. Here’s what I see emerging. Here’s who I know you to be. Here’s something that I see that’s in you that I don’t think you see yet. Here’s a latent aspect of your identity. Here’s what I see as next for you.”
So when you are lost in the wilderness, it’s actually a call to do paradoxically, these two things:
First, go deeper into aloneness, deeper into quiet. Find places where you can let who you knew yourself to be, be relinquished; to let it go; to say goodbye; to grieve some aspect of who you knew yourself to be.
Second, move deeper into relationships with people who know us who can see you – people who hold up that mirror and shed light on what’s emerging within you.
If you’re really on your journey, count on this happening over and over and over and over again. Why? Because if you’re on your hero’s journey, you will continually have this experience of, “Oh, this version of me could do this thing. Now I’m called to do this next thing. And in order to do that, I need to step into a new expression of who I am.”
We want you to know that this is archetypal, this is part of the journey. And it is not personal. It’s not punishment. It’s just how the nature of this thing works.
Let’s also acknowledge that there is a tremendous amount of this change going on right now in the world… and certainly for you and the people you serve!
As tribal leaders, a big part of your leadership is leading your people in the field of identity. Whatever area you work with people in (business, relationship, health, purpose), keep in mind that what you’re really working with them on is their identity.
That quest for true identity is always underlying whatever work you’re doing with anyone you’re serving.
This, of course, happens at the individual level, and certainly also happens in all collectives.
This is where paradigm change comes in. The foundation of all change happens at the level of identity.
This is happening all the time, in every organization, at every level of society, for every individual, for every collective.
If you want to help people and systems change, look at who your people are saying they are. Understand that part of the struggles they may be experiencing are the result of seeing the world and seeing their problems through the lens of an outdated expression of who they are.
If that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense that part of your role as a paradigm changer and change maker is to help people and communities see more expansive visions of who they are? New expressions and new possibilities for them come from seeing and adopting a new understanding of who they know themselves to be. That’s what emboldens them to take bigger risks, go on bigger journeys, and take bold steps in a new direction.
That’s what we’re always inviting our tribes to do.
So, the next time you’re in this place personally, ask yourself, “Is this the time to get quiet… to relinquish something I’ve been holding on to… to let go of some way of being, some way of knowing myself, some way of being in relationship with other people?”
Or have you done that, and now it’s time to get into relationship… to have people by your side that, get you, see what’s going on and can support you through it?
You’re not alone. You don’t need to go it alone. We can’t do this alone. This is why we are called, now more than ever, into relationship with our tribes.