A hundred years ago, (ok, not really, but it seems like it) I was having lunch with a friend whom I’d been getting to know over the course of a couple years.
On this particular day, I was feeling downright crabby and having trouble hiding it from her.
I started to apologize for my bad mood when my friend said something I’ll never forget.
“Oh Annie, I LOVE when you’re crabby!”
I must have looked at her with the most puzzled expression on my face.
“You do??? Why???”
Without missing a beat she said, “Because when you’re crabby with me, I know you’re being real. You’re not pretending to be anything else than how you are and I’m so honored by that.”
She went on to say, “It’s what lets me know I can trust you. You’re being honest and not pulling any punches. That’s also what I call being reliable.” (Years later, I’d learn that reliability is one of the key components of trust, but I’ll save that for another bite…)
To say that was a liberating moment is an understatement. I’d never had a friend encourage me to fully show up as I am. I always thought I was supposed to hide the icky-don’t-let-people-see-you-like-this kinds of feelings and only let the ‘good’ ones out. You know, act like I was happy and that everything was fine.
On that very ordinary day, I received an extraordinary gift: the invitation to show up and be myself, in whatever way that happened to be.
What a concept.
What a friend.
Our exchange also taught me something very important about my friend. Here was a woman who was secure enough in herself that she didn’t need to fix me or have me change so that she could feel more comfortable.
She only wanted real.
My world sort of pivoted that day and I’m infinitely grateful.
And for better or for worse, I’ve been ‘practicing’ being real ever since. (Wait, what?)
For the record, not everyone has loved this. Certain people haven’t appreciated my crabbiness one bit, even after I explained that, actually, they ought to feel incredibly honored!
Oh well. As my grandmother used to say, “boop boop”.
This has been a gift that’s kept on giving because, lo and behold, it’s become a central tenet of my life’s work: to help others embrace and embody the truth of who they are so they can show up fully in the world as themselves: crabby, messy, brilliant, ordinary and oh so fully human.
Who’d have thought a little conversation over lunch would have such deep and lasting impact?
Moral of the story? Watch out who you’re having lunch with….they just might be about to change your life.
I love hearing from you–and your crabbiness is welcome here. 😉 I’m all ears. Xo