Permission To Lose It

Ever clam up because you're afraid of losing it in front of others?  Maybe a friend.  Maybe a family member.  Maybe a coworker. 

I can remember a meeting years ago with one of my favorite bosses.  Back when I worked in the moving industry.  Back when I supervised others.  Back when the pressure was on to handle all the incoming international moves and get them delivered before the family lost it from having to spend one more night in sleeping bags instead of their actual beds. 

High pressure.  My job description included handling 7 hours of stress per day.  Those days were the start of teeth clenching and advil popping. 

Back to my meeting.  Most of our meetings were not tense.  We enjoyed each other's sense of humor.  He was like the big brother I never had.  Work was fun and enjoyable and sometimes stressful. 

But that day was different.  That day included stress and hurt feelings and internal questions about the quality of my work. 

I began to talk to myself.  "Don't do it Allen!  Don't cry.  Anything but the crying in front of male bosses."

You may have guessed.  I cried.  Big huge tears.  I was afraid of being seen as overly emotional.  I was afraid that these men would tip toe around me from now on.  I was afraid that I would be seen as weak and sensitive and blubbery. 

I'm hoping you can relate.  Because whether it be a situation at work, a tense conversation with friends and family, or just in our daily interactions with one another - we've all bought into the same assumption.  WE HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER! 

We've associated composure with strength.  We've made showing our emotions and sharing our hearts less desirable.  We've assumed that for people to like us we need to have it all together. 

There is strength in vulnerability.  There is power is displaying who we really are - weaknesses and all.  And as I said to a friend recently, losing it just means that we're real like the Velveteen rabbit.  And that's a good thing. 

So, how can we give ourselves permission to lose it?  How do we become okay with losing it ourselves?  How can we learn to be open to letting others lose it right there in front of us?  

And where did we even get this idea that composure is better than being real? 

Since starting my coaching training, I've learned a few things about losing it in front of others. 

Losing It Is Normal

If you have a heart and are living here on earth, life will be hard.  You won't always get along with everyone.  Work will be frustrating.  You will lose people too soon.  And, quite frankly, it's OKAY to lose it.  It's okay to want to cry in front of others, to be saddened by a situation, or to feel out of control.  I know crying in front of others can be embarrassing.  Let it go.  You don't need to have it all together all the time.  Rely on your community.  And trust them to love you even when you lose it. 

Losing It is Attractive

I know I've lost many of you.  What?  How can losing it in front of others be attractive?  Work with me people!  We are drawn to people who are real and aren't afraid to share from their heart.  There is something engaging about a person who is willing to be vulnerable.  Someone who is willing to share their emotions.  Someone who let's you inside their heart.  And losing it just shows our community that we are just like them.  We can be hurt.  We can be happy.  But mostly we show that we are living life fully - right where we are. 

Losing It Bring Healing

When we give ourselves permission to lose our composure, we find healing.  God can use our tears to bring healing to our hearts.  I don't know what it is, but don't you feel better after a good cry?  Crying must help us process what we're feeling and find sense in our frustrations.  But there's another healing component to losing it that we so often forget about.  We experience unconditional love.  We find out that others don't love us because we have everything together.  We find out that others love us in the midst of losing it.  We find love not based on what we do but on who we are.  And that, my friends, can bring healing to any heart. 

Don't believe me?  In that same moving company office, I supervised a girl named Lisa.  At one point, I was going through a hard time and would cry almost everyday.  We shared an office - I COULD NOT ESCAPE TO CRY!  Day in and out I felt such a burden to be a good example and to STOP CRYING!  I wanted to have it all together.  But Lisa gave me a gift.  She explained that seeing me cry and seeing how I integrated my faith with my feelings made her love me as her friend and drew her closer to a faith that could help her process her own emotions.  My own vulnerability created a bond that was special and real between us. 

So, I ask today...are you giving yourself permission to lose it?  Life is hard.  Relationships, while rewarding, can be hard.  You will lose it.  So how can you and I change our perspective on losing it?  How can we learn to be real just like the Velveteen rabbit?  How can we embrace being imperfect and messy and vulnerable with those we love?  

One foot faith loses it every once in a while.  One foot faith gives itself permission to feel, to be real, and to be messy.  One foot faith embraces vulnerability over composure to demonstrate God's work in our hearts and lives. 

Losing it with you...