I’m traveling for work this week. The DC area is one of my favorite places to go for work–and now I know this time of year is the perfect time. It’s gorgeous. Every other tree is absolutely lit up with blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white. The weather is perfect. The sun is clear and bright.
Traveling always reminds me how easy it is for me to disconnect from the people around me. I could quite easily talk to no one all day long. Occasionally, this is okay. It’s fine for me to introvert and enjoy solitude. But I’ve realized that this also cuts me off from so many things. I’m in a beautiful place with people from all over the country learning about the things that matter to me–why wouldn’t I welcome conversation with others?
Oh, because I like to be invisible.
My dear friend Becca and I spent two nights this weekend at an Airbnb in Alexandria with a couple whose hospitality made me uncomfortable. They were kind without pause. Their manner was welcoming and open. Their home was bright and comfy. Their patio, their dog, their wine–all of it was ours to enjoy. And all I could think about was disrupting their peace, invading their space, them thinking: what is she doing here?
Obviously, this is about me, not them. If they didn’t want people in their home, they wouldn’t make such an effort to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. So what happened to me? Why do I always feel the need to shrink? Why am I so afraid of disrupting the lives of the people around me?
But I know why.
It’s the why are you here?
The I regret you.
The why would you do that?
The you’re too much trouble.
The I’d rather be somewhere else with anyone else.
The you don’t belong here.
This is old news, and not unique to me. We’ve all heard these things. Or felt them deeply in the actions of others.
I want to lean into the world, to fall head-over-heels into it. I want to smile and talk and listen without doubting whether I am welcome or wanted. I want to look with eyes that are paying close attention. I know the only way to make this a reality is to treat myself with this kind of hospitality. To speak kindly to myself. To not fight my body, my heart, my mind, but to smile to myself, to welcome my thoughts and feelings, to accept myself without exception.
I want to make others feel wanted, heard, seen. I’m showing up today, acting as though I know I am welcome, making sure the people around me feel seen. I’m sharing in case I’m not the only one, in case you woke up this morning and immediately started shrinking and hiding and apologizing.
Let’s greet the world heart-first today, together. You are seen, you are welcome. Thank you for being here.