How stepping back can help you move forward
Recently my husband and I took our two younger teens and a few extras to our state fair. We claim to not be regular yearly fair-goers, yet it seems like we are there more years than not. One of the things my entire family loves seeing is all the animals. I suppose when you have 3 dogs, and a cat along with random fish and lizards over the years, you are considered somewhat of an animal lover. So it comes as no surprise that we would seek those barns out first over the midway and even fried dough!
Immediately after walking out of the swine barn listening to my kids pleas about reasons we should get a baby pig, I could sense a new buzz starting to stir in their minds as we headed into bunny heaven!
What is it about bunnies that children and adults just can’t get enough of. It doesn't seem to matter if they are short-haired, long-haired, big, little, short-ears or long-ears, they are hard to resist. We slowly walked up and down each row of rabbits trying to combat our inner desires to stick our fingers in the cages marked, “Do NOT Touch,” just to get a quick feel of each furball. All the while listening to new requests about how our house would be perfect for one of these furry friends.
Yet, I noticed that even though our enthusiasm about seeing them was at an all time high, a few of them didn’t seem as excited about engaging with us. One rabbit in particular was protesting all attention coming her way. Everytime we would try to get a closer look, she would immediately turn around! Her backside, although still adorable with that cute bunny tail, got me thinking about the days that I would prefer to just turn around and turn off to others.
Wouldn’t it be something if the signal to approach or disengage someone would be to either stay facing them or turn around! Clearly, that is not the best way. However, we’ve all been in those moments either in the grocery store or other random places where we notice someone but aren’t up for talking so we pretend we don’t see them or back out slowly to not be seen. Be honest here, I can’t be the only one. It’s okay.
Sometimes and some days, we just aren’t feeling it! We just need some space, some time alone to think about our next move or figure things out without feeling like striking up or engaging in a conversation where we feel spotlighted for an answer or performance. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not always want to be “on” and recognize that sometimes it’s necessary to process without an audience and mentally turn around!
I’ve had many days recently where I’ve felt just like that bunny in the cage. Our family has gone through a lot of changes and even though they’ve all been good, change nonetheless can be hard and sometimes begs for silence or a moment. I don’t always want to rehash a place that I’m still learning to navigate or put on a false show, everytime I see someone. And let’s be honest, some people are in tune to a person's body language and others are not. They aren’t bad or purposely being intrusive but just unaware. Because of that, sometimes it feels better for me to lay low and not be so visible when my mind and heart are in the middle of an adjustment. That doesn’t mean that it will take me months or years to engage or interact everytime I’m in a transitional period, but rather a day or 2, maybe even a week.
Time alone acknowledges space we are currently craving and an awareness that we may need a moment to give others our best. "Turning off” allows us to distance ourselves when seeking out balance. It offers additional prayer-time, reflection, regrouping and reconciling with only Gods input.
I am not good at hiding my feelings so it’s important for me to accept my limitations by turning around, instead of automatically engaging. Engaging can lead to more than what we are capable of at times, so it’s important to recognize the need for boundaries.
If you too can relate as someone who would benefit from “turning off” occasionally, do it! Don’t feel pressured to be in a conversation, situation or season that you’re not ready for. Most women feel the same way.
Allow yourself the freedom of turning around and off once in awhile. Practicing it doesn’t require us to be rude or harsh in the delivery but rather honest with others and yourself. Feel confident that those who have the ability to understand where your coming from will get it. Don’t underestimate other women’s capacity to extend grace. Trust that they’ve been where you are right now.
Recognizing moments when turning around is the best thing needs to come without shame or guilt. Solitude isn’t a punishment to others but a protection for you. It gives us the opportunity to deliver our best in an authentic way.
Sometimes in order to move forward first we need to take a step back. Be honest, sincere and intentional with your actions. It will help your next face to face be filled with a pure heart instead of a false front.
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