Life giving friendships

This Sunday I went to an Impact a Hero Gala. I was blown away by a story after story of post traumatic growth. Yes, post traumatic growth, not post traumatic stress disorder statistics that I am used to hearing and accepting.

For example, there was Sergeant J.P. Lane who had his legs blown off, went through 28 surgeries, spine dislocated … I’m working off my memory so there is a whole bunch I’m forgetting, and a punctured throat to the point his doctors told him he’d never sing. Yet that’s exactly what he did at the event! He sang “Only a mountain.” A beautiful song made that much better when sang from the heart by a soul full of love for the God and his neighbor.

I was also touched by a speech by one of the hall of fame inductees, who had us close our eyes and think of a difficult time we went through. He asked how many people were you connected to then? Then he had us think of a moment when we were very happy. Again he asked, how many people were you connected to then? For me the numbers couldn’t be more different. Night and day!

Failure used to equal shame and shame pushed me into hiding. Hiding, in turn, made things even worse. So the spiral downwards continued …

In fact one of the speakers, mentioned that the first time he was able to get good night’s sleep, years after coming back from Iraq, was in a jail cell. All locked up and away from everyone. Even though I’ve never been in jail, I saw a parallel to my life where expatriate assignments and business trips became a self inflicted prison sentence to give myself an excuse from establishing meaningful connections. 

On the flip side,I saw a TED talk once where the speaker said that quality connections with others is the best predictor of healthy life. 

Why is that? 

My best educated guess is that we are our own worst critics … yet when someone shares their struggles we can’t help but do our best to cheer them up. We’ll say the warmest words to others, that we frequently forget to use on ourselves.

So to me, the best test of a quality relationship is whether I am comfortable sharing my struggles with that particular person. 

Today I am proud to say that list is big and growing …

How many people are you able to share your struggles with? How can you grow this list?


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