“Did you see the email I sent you? I was wondering if you were back from the Netherlands?” My best friend invited me for lunch. We are enjoying a chia bowl.
I had seen it. Two days ago. But I felt too discombobulated to reply after my traveling. And I didn’t want to answer without offering a time-slot to get together.
Don’t ask me why. I could have just written: “Great hearing from you! Yes, I am back and I would love to get together.” But I didn’t.
Her question comes as a surprise. I feel ashamed that I had been unresponsive. In a split second, I hear myself say: “No, I haven’t.”
As soon as I do, I regret it. And I feel stuck. I want to be honest and I’m afraid that admitting my lie would spoil our delightful lunch.
Coming home, I realize that I want to tell her the truth to support my self-respect and integrity. I also dread doing it. It’s like eating a rotten sandwich and knowing you will feel horrible. The difference is that I trust that she will empathize.
Fortunately, I have enough practice with Nonviolent Communication to know that the dread is a messenger of precious, universal, human needs. I ask David, my husband, and Saskia, my sister, to help me find those needs.
Their empathy helps. I see how much I care for her and how much I want to be seen as a caring and responsive friend.
It takes some deep breathing to overcome the fear of being found out as a person with no integrity. When I call her, I tell her that I had read the email when she asked about it. She laughs: she has been in similar situations.
After I hang up, I have grown an inch. I choose my values over my fears. I feel super proud of myself.
I am not sure that I could have done it without my supportive community. They always help. They encourage me to grow into who I want to be and accept me even when I carry shame for my actions.
You might benefit from such a community too. Whether you want to be honest, be an advocate for racial justice, lose weight, apply for a new job, or work on your marriage.
A community helps you clarify your values and aspirations, encourage you to face your fears and act with integrity anyway, brainstorm to find strategies that help you live your purpose, and celebrate your success and oops as learning opportunities.
The October 5, 2021 I’m starting a new coaching group: Pledj. It’s an acronym of Peace, Love, Equanimity, Delight, and Joy. This is for you, if you want to live in integrity and work on your aspirations.
- Six bi-weekly group meetings on Zoom
- You will be paired with an empathy buddy for the in-between weeks
- Topics like failing and learning, feelings and needs, emotional liberation, shame and self-worth, autonomy, and purpose.
- Max six participants, one spot left
- $438 in full or monthly payments of $75
Bonus: you will have access to a virtual platform so you can stay in touch with each other.