Finding Real Connection in a Disconnected World

mindset Jul 11, 2021

Today's episode is really about sharing some of my own personal stories, but also just stories with clients and people that I've worked with to help you find connection in a disconnected world.

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Hello, you are listening to the Phoenix Rising podcast. I am Ashley Drummonds and you are here, a place where I hope to bring you real conversations, real stories in the attempt to help inspire and empower you to connect deeper to yourself so that you can really live a life. That's authentic. And genuine to you.

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But that is ABSpancakes.com head on over there. And then we can stay even more connected with the emails that I send out every single week. All right. So now we're going to get in today's podcast episode, which is all about finding connection in a disconnected world.

Good morning. Oh, man, it has been raining like crazy here in Florida. The sun is coming out today and my Florida sunshine heart is so excited about that. So I hope wherever you are, you are ready to connect, ready to get deep and really just talk about some stuff that matters because that is what life is all about.

And today's episode is really about sharing some of my own personal stories, but also just stories with clients and people that I've worked with to help you find connection in a disconnected world. Yeah. So it's so interesting because there's so many people and I mean, this is just society. And like, honestly, if you just pay attention to people, you can tell who feels alone and who feels connected.

On one of my calls recently with one of the clients that I'm working with one-on-one as a mindset coach, and we're really breaking through some patterns and some limitations and really helping her feel more whole and authentic to herself. And she was getting frustrated and asking, she was like, why does nobody talk about this stuff?

Why does nobody talk about anything? Why is it almost like taboo? If you tell somebody you're going to therapy or you tell somebody that, Hey, I started doing meditation to work on some pain that I had from years ago. Like why does everybody act so weird and why does nobody talk about it? And I said, the reason people probably don't talk about it is because more than likely, there was a time in their life when they were 100% human and they had a moment of vulnerability.

Where they were flawed or hurt or in a moment of weakness and pain and whatever and they expose this humanist to another human assuming and expecting. To be accepted and loved. And instead they got rejection and felt more alone and confused than they did before they expose themselves. And this is what is so interesting and so true is that you can have 20 friends, a hundred friends, 10 friends, you can be married, you can have kids, you can have a whole family.

You can have a very full life, or I guess I should say you can have a life full of a lot of people and feel more alone in that life than if none of those people existed. And it's because you don't have any real connection, you just have people taking up space. So what I hope that you get from this podcast is help with finding real connection so that not only do you feel more connection to more connected to yourself and your life, but the relationships and the friendships that you have, you're going to feel a lot more connection too.

And I'm going to share a lot of stories that are going to be applicable and a lot of things about pain and what we do in moments of pain that create the disconnect. And really, I just hope that, like I said, in the other episodes, I hope that you take whatever resonates with you and use it as an opportunity for you to grow and whatever doesn't resonate.

You know what? You can throw it out the window and keep on moving forward with your life. So I posted this on Instagram the other day, and I am 100% owning the fact that I am quoting a Disney movie, but the Disney movie was written by humans and humans are the ones that came up with this wisdom. And the quote is that the greatest risk that any of us will ever take is to truly be seen for who and what we are.

And that quote came from Cinderella and it's a hundred percent true. The irony in this is while this is the greatest thing in life that we all really want is to truly be seen, known, and accepted for who we really are in order to get that we have to be willing to be seen known. And for who we really are, not just the parts that we deem as acceptable in this life, but.

I mean to show up in that life. That way is terrifying. Let's be honest. Like I know this firsthand. I know you do too. If you have this persona, you coast and by in life, you were doing just fine with the version of you that showed up. Then all of a sudden you're like, you know what? I wonder what would happen if my close friends and my family knew the real me.

Knew the me that I showed nobody else, except for myself when I was alone, what would happen then? And here's the risk. The risk is you do that and now you feel totally rejected and like a loser because these people that you're showing it to have no idea how to show up fully, wholly and as themselves. So when you do, they kind of just give you a funny look and they're like, what the hell is wrong with Ashley?

What was that all about? And you're like, what do you mean? What was this all about? Like, this is who I've been this whole time. And you're trying to make me feel like something's wrong with me because I'm actually being myself while everybody else around here is walking around like we're on the Truman show, just doing the same thing every single day, staying on the surface, but nobody really is connected to anything.

And this is the fear. This is what we fear of. Like, all right, will I feel more alone after I do this? And I'm going to tell you right now, you won't, however, you may actually be more alone temporarily as you start to show up more connected and more wholeheartedly because you can not continue to have surface level relationships and friendships when you no longer are functioning on the surface of who you truly are. It takes so much courage and strength to be able to do this because I mean, you're risking heartbreak really, but also if you don't risk it, then you never know if you truly do find that connection. Here's what happens though. Nobody just like you start a new class or you start.

Any new group thing. Nobody wants to be the first person to stand up or raise their hand and introduce themselves because it's scary because you don't know how you're going to be accepted or not accepted or what anybody else says. It's the same thing in poker. Nobody wants to show their cards first.

You show your cards first and then I'll show mine. This is what we do with connection and vulnerability. Nobody wants to be the first person to lay it all out there on the table. However, somebody has to be first as a requirement to create true trust and a vulnerable, intimate connection with other people.

So for you, if you have relationships and I always hear this, like always, it's so interesting. Like if people actually pay attention to other people, Most people are pretty easy to like pinpoint and figure out. And I don't mean that, that means that anybody- I'm pretty easy to figure out, like if you pay attention within an hour, you're going to realize I am a very deep, inquisitive, human being.

I love getting to know people. I love to get to know people very deeply. If you don't figure that out very quickly, then you're not paying attention at all. And you can just move on and not take up that space that I would love to keep open for other people who do figure that out. But my point being. In order to get to this place, you have to be brave enough to lay your cards out on the table first, to be exposed and be vulnerable, hoping in with the intention that whoever you're doing this with a friendship, a family member relationship, they're going to match that. And they're going to show their cards too.

A lot of times what happens though, and what screws up all of us is we lay the cards out on the table. Totally exposing ourselves. And then we get completely rejected and we're like, well, crap, that didn't really go well, never doing that again. Let me just backpedal put those cards away, stick them in my pocket, lock it in the safe, shove it under the bed, lock that bedroom door and lock the house.

So I never feel that again. Meanwhile, while you're doing that, there's also a part of you that feels disconnected, disappointed, and really confused in this life because you're like, I don't understand how everybody seems. Totally fine. Walking around half hearted. And I'm over here feeling lost and disconnected because I want that connection and that whole hearted living.

So in order to get to the place where you are comfortable enough with being the first one, to lay the cards on the table and expose this vulnerability, knowing what you're risking in the hopes of creating this, you got to first get to the place within yourself of being vulnerable. And this takes time.

And what I mean by that is when you have people that don't reciprocate. The depth and the level of vulnerability that you're giving nine times out of 10 it's because they haven't done that for themselves. There's no way they're going to do that for a stranger. There is no way they are exposing to you, their deepest pains, their greatest hopes, their biggest dreams and their deepest fears when they haven't even acknowledged that in themselves.

So instead of admitting that instead of in those moments, when you this beautiful, wonderful heart and soul. That's just shining bright and the world shows up and you're like, hi, I would love to connect with your soul and be a part of your life in a way that I think that we're naturally supposed to be as humans.

You do this from the most innocent place. And somebody else is like, oh my God, there's no way. Like she wants to see something that I haven't even looked at myself. So instead of participating, I'm just going to slowly exit and just goes to this girl altogether. And I'm saying this as myself personally.

Because it's happened over and over and now I kind of just accept it, but that shouldn't stop you from continuing to do that because eventually what's going to happen is you're going to do that. You're gonna do it over and over and over again and over and over and over again, people are going to tell you you're crazy.

They're going to tell you like, wow, you're a lot. Or wow. Like, jeez, like you're very deep. And at first you feel like, oh, that's awesome. Like now I feel like something's wrong with me. But over time, the more you do it, you're going to realize that people, the right people start to match that the right people kind of recognize like, Hey, she kind of functions the way I function.

This is kind of nice kind of feeling like finally there's somebody who gets me and I get them. And it's because this is who we are as humans. Most of us, I mean, young souls i don't really connect with at all, just because there's a part of me that this is terrible to admit I can, anybody can tell, well, I'm not going to say anybody.

You can tell when you were connecting with a very young soul and an old soul. And when I'm connecting with a young soul, there's a part of me that feels like I'm in high school, connecting with a fifth grader where you love them, you see them, you recognize them for what they are, but you're also in the back of your mind, like, yeah.

We are in totally different places of life. And I don't, this is the only conversation where ever going to have, because I'm already bored with this. And I don't really know what else to talk to you about. And it's not mean it's just different. You're in different places, you're in different lives and they're going to connect with other young souls and you're going to connect with older souls.

It's totally fine. But anyway, so you have to get to this place first in yourself, accepting, this goes to another podcast episode, accepting the outcome that you fear that if you expose yourself for who you truly are and you live wholeheartedly, accept the outcome might be that you get rejected, you get ghosted, you get abandoned, you get criticized, you get told something's wrong with you.

I mean, inevitably just accept it. Because then what happens now you're not scared of it. And now you can keep showing up. And then when this does happen, because it will you can be like, huh, I already kind of thought that might happen. And it did. And I'm totally fine. Look at that. How interesting, again, going back to the story I have with the client is part of the coaching call we were on and what I was telling her as she's like growing so much.

And she knows if she's listening to this, which I'm sure she is. She knows exactly who she is. Like, I am so proud of her. In weeks, she has come so far and she just, I can feel it and I can see it. She just accepts herself so much more. She's really finding her voice, standing up for herself and embracing who she is on the deepest level.

And that is so fulfilling for me. But I'm so proud of her. And one of the fears that has come up is yeah, but what if I go backwards? Like I'm experiencing this and I feel so good and I feel so much better, but what if I go backwards? And I said, you won't trust me. You won't. Once you turn on the light and you see the truth, you can't unsee the truth for what it is.

And it's a legitimate fear that we all have, but it's not real. So part of the process, I said, the thing that's important though, is that now that you're doing all these things for you and to take care of you and to establish a loving relationship with yourself so that you can have a loving, a true loving relationship with others is now you need to set the intention and put in the energy and effort.

To create this in your friendships so that you are surrounded by other people who are doing the same to support you, but also to keep you moving forward, you cannot continue to do this work for yourself and stay surrounded by people who are not also doing the work for themselves. And it's very hard because there's going to be relationships and friendships that are lost, but don't let that deter you from still moving forward with the intention of what you want.

So she had expressed, so we got on this call, we're talking about all this. I'm like, what's going on with the friendships, like we talked about last week, like you were going to step out, you were going to be brave and you were going to pursue a deeper friendship with one of your close friends, because you want that, what happened?

And she was expressing that she did that, but her friend didn't really open back up to her and she was kind of frustrated with it because she can tell like, her friend really wants this. And this client does too, but she didn't get it. And I said, you know what? That's okay. I'm proud of you for trying. I'm proud of you for putting yourself out there, but I'm even more proud of you that her response to you stepping out and being vulnerable did not become part of you thinking there's something wrong with me now.

Nobody wants me instead. You recognize it for what it is. You recognize it. That, that person is not ready for that level of friendship. They're not ready for that, but you did not let that keep you from moving forward. And so I was just admiring her and acknowledging her as, and I'm really proud of you and I want you to keep doing it because each time you do it, you're going to get a little bit stronger.

You're going to feel better about yourself. You're going to be functioning more from your authentic place, but also eventually. Somebody's going to come back and they're going to do the same thing for you, and they're gonna match that vulnerability. And you're going to get the friendship that you truly want because you keep showing up.

But if you don't keep showing up, allowing yourself to be seen, then you're never going to get it. And so she is the one that is putting the cards on the table first. And when people do this, Man. And they tell me the story of it. I am just like, my heart is like in the corner, cheering them on because I know how scary and terrifying it is.

But I also know with confidence that if you keep doing it, you will find the connection. Because what you're doing is you are saying, Hey, I recognize this as scary and terrifying, but to prove to you that I'm all in and invested, I'm going to lay my cards out first to establish that trust so that we both can have this friendship and the connection that we want.

It's a very scary thing to do, but it always, well not always, but eventually it will be reciprocated. Um, perfect example of this too, is. My best friend and I we've known each other for years. And I mean, ironically, like our friendship happened very fast within weeks. I was crying to her, telling her my life story and everything that was going on.

And, we always joke and we've had disagreements in our friendship guarantee. She's listening to this and she's probably texting me like, oh my God, I made it in the podcast. But so. We've had situations in our friendship where we've had to have uncomfortable conversations, disagreements, spots where we're not really connecting and I'm frustrated because I feel like she's not showing up or she feels like I'm not showing up and it's super uncomfortable.

And it's really scary because you go into this and you're like, oh no, We're having a fight is this the end of this friendship and every time, and I am so grateful for it. And like people that do this, like man, hold on to them and be so grateful for them. Because every time I showed up to the difficult conversation, she showed up through the difficult conversation and we worked through it because we both had the same intention and we talk about it through the argument of my intention is to work through this because I value this friendship and I value you.

So, what do we need to do to work through this? And that's the same mindset that she has. And because of this over the years, we have a very close friendship. And even just recently, I was telling her with something that she's going through and she texted me, I was doing some work on the business and I was doing some emails and I got a text from her and she said, Hey, are you busy?

And I, you know, you know, when somebody needs you and I responded, I said, I'm doing some stuff on the computer and some emails. And like, I'm kind of in the middle of some business things, but if you need me to be available, I can be available. And so she FaceTimed me, she cried, she's going through this hard time and she just didn't need to be alone in this hard time that she was going through.

And I, 100% was more than happy to be there with her through it. Prior to this, few years ago in our friendship, we had, we've always been very close, but, and you're always close to people. And then it's like, life presents you with the opportunity to deepen that relationship. And it's like, oh God, this is too scary.

But also this is, I mean, this is what I want. So I'm going to show up. And I was going through a really challenging time. This was probably, I don't know, 2017, 2018, who knows by now, but it's few years ago. And it was one of those things where I knew I had a choice that this, it was just really, really hard.

And I was like, this is either going to callous me and harden me so that I no longer open up or I have a choice that I can take a huge risk and I can open up and be vulnerable and really, really hope that it's seen acknowledged. And now it deepens my friendship. And so. There is this moment where I was crying so hard, I'm talking like ugly crying, just because I felt so lost and confused and frustrated.

And like I was trying to move a brick wall and nothing was moving and I felt alone. And like, I was the only person in the world having this pain and her and I had always like, had really great conversations. And one day I was just like, can I FaceTime? She was like, yeah, it was everything. Okay. I was like, not really, but like, I just, I'm gonna lose my mind if I don't talk to somebody about it.

And I FaceTime'd her, and for the first time I became completely unglued in this friendship and I'm talking, I like it is so God it's, even as I'm talking about it, it's uncomfortable that I'm FaceTiming this person just ugly, crying the way that normally I would only cry by myself, except for, I am allowing another human to witness.

Because I had been doing it for so many years by myself that I no longer could do it alone. And prior to calling her, I went into it knowing I was like, all right, here we go. I'm either truly going to be alone after this because she's either going to like be on the other side of that FaceTime. Like Holy shit.

Like Ashley feels so much and I cannot handle this or she's going to be the person that I think she is. And she is going to acknowledge my pain. She's going to see my pain and she's going to be with me in it and help me through it. And that's exactly what happened. And every single time, little by little, that trust grew more and more.

And this was a very solid yea of going through this and like, Hey, I need a FaceTime and I'm FaceTiming and I'm crying. And just like letting myself be seen. And she showed up over and over never, ever judging me for it. Never making me feel stupid for being vulnerable and feeling so deeply. And just being with me in it.

Now, after about a year of this, it got, so I'm laying my cards on the table first. After a year of this, I start to feel stupid and I bring it to her attention. I was like, God, I feel like I'm the one that's just always sitting here, like telling you everything that's going on. And I don't think, I don't think you have anything like this.

Like, I feel so funny in this friendship. I was like, I just feel like you're so even keeled. And at the time she was like, well, I just don't have anything right now that's that big as what you're going through. Um, but I'm sure I will. And then sure enough. Here we are a couple of years later. And as she has continued to show up for me over the years, as she now goes through something and sends me texts like the other day, where she needs to FaceTime and totally fall apart.

So she's not alone in this pain. Not only do I drop everything I'm doing to be there for her through it, because she did it for me, but I'm also honored and grateful to have this connection in my life. And I said that to her on the phone, I said, You know what I said this moment right here is why we have had the difficult conversations.

Why we both have continued to show up why we choose to be vulnerable because when shit hits the fan and life gets really hard. These are the friendships and the people you need in your life to help you get through it. And even now I can not imagine going through life without this kind of friendship, it becomes a lifeline.

But to get there, you got to go through some really hard, uncomfortable, difficult times, not just with other people, but with yourself. So every time I see somebody doing this, I just got, I want to like hug you hug them because I'm like, I know how brave you have to be to be this vulnerable. And people always see vulnerability as a weakness as like a flaw.

And I, 100% disagree because it takes so much strength to be vulnerable. It's not weak. What's weak is to settle and live a half-hearted life. That's taking the easy route, not having the hard conversations, not putting yourself on the line. That's playing it safe. That's weak. And I don't even like calling it weak because I can understand it.

It's scary. And you do it from. So many moments of pain that you get tired of feeling the pain, but true strength comes from being vulnerable and choosing to continue to move forward because deep down your other choice is to live a life less than what your soul and your heart knows that it really wants.

So while vulnerability is terrifying. Trust me, like, as I'm talking about this, I'm telling you like my heart's racing a little bit because it's like, oh God, I hate feeling this uncomfortable and this exposed, but I'm going to move through it anyways, while it's terrifying. It is also so liberating and there is so much freedom in it because once you truly have been seen and known for the real you, not the you that you've created out of survival to avoid pain, but like the truest version of you, you're free to live this life. You're no longer doing things out of avoidance or trying to fit in. You're happily an outsider because as an outsider, you feel more like yourself than you ever did as an insider.

So yes, vulnerability is super freaking scary. And it's going to probably give you heart palpitations and make you sick to your stomach. But when you finally do have that moment where all the cards are on the table and you are totally loved, accepted and seen for everything that you are, you literally become unstoppable in life because that's it.

There's nothing that you're, you're afraid of people finding out about you. And honestly, that's why I can talk about this stuff. And I can tell these stories I used to not be able to, because it was like, God, if people knew that I felt this deeply in a world where people choose not to feel. I'm going to feel like such a loser.

I'm going to feel so weird and like, something's wrong with me, but it took years of me spending time with myself and truly seeing myself and accepting that this is who I am to be able to talk about things. Because prior to that, I was just like, yeah, I'm not going to talk about how I dated somebody for six months.

That took me years to get over. Like, who does that mean? No, I'm good. Like that was, that was years ago. That doesn't bother me anymore. No, the truth is it bothered me for a really long time, which brings me to another story because this is the other thing too, in love. I have two, I got two more stories for you.

Personal stories. Things that had happened from a very innocent wholehearted place that totally rocked my world. And then shut me down for a long time that made me live half-heartedly, but also how I chose to move through it and continue to risk the chance that I might go through it again, because what happened?

And I, again, going back to the best friend, While we're on this FaceTime and she's going through this and she's putting the pieces together. And I told her, I said, this you're doing exactly what you do in this. You feel all of it. You feel the pain, you process the pain because that's the only real way you're going to heal it.

If you pretend like it's not hurting you this much, that pain doesn't go away. It still lives in you until you see it and recognize it. But, I said, you know what the beautiful thing is is I know you, I know you're somebody that lives with your whole heart and you're going to put the pieces back together.

You're going to get through this. And then the crazy thing about us wholehearted souls is you're going to choose to do this again. You're going to choose, even though it might take you years to recover, you're going to be like, you know what, though? I choose connection. I choose to live with my whole heart. I choose to put myself back out there because. If I don't, then I know I'm denying my own heart and soul and who I really am and what I really want.

So the personal stories, I got one for love and one for friendships. So we'll start with the friendship one actually. So back when I was like 19, 20, 21, I I'd already shared the whole story. I went through a divorce, you know, life hits rock bottom. I don't know what I'm going to do. I feel alone. I totally move away. I leave everything. I'm by myself. I have no job. I have no friends. I have no family. I have no house and I have no money. So I have this turning point, this pivotal moment. And I'm kind of like speeding through this part of the story because that's a whole other, yeah.

Conversation for another time and not the point of this podcast episode, but so I finally get some clarity and I come back and I get into the fitness industry and I started doing personal training. I'm around 22 years old and life starts to come back together. It feels like. So I have this friend from a long time before in middle school or elementary school.

I can't even remember at this point, but we had kind of, our paths went separate ways and then. She had found me through Facebook, I think, and reached out to me because she was also going through a divorce. And I had been out of mine for about a year and a half now. So I was emotionally moved on from it and healed.

And she reached out because she didn't know anybody else who was 21, 22 going through a divorce and she needed help. And she was like, I don't know how to do this. Like, how did you do this? How did you get through this? And we became very, very close friends, very fast because I mean, we had been through something that most people don't go through in their early twenties.

So we've become really great friends. I mean, all day, every day we're hanging out together. We're texting all day. Like everybody, it's that friend where like, people just know if you go on a family vacation, That person coming. Yes. They are like, you just know, they're like, oh yeah, of course she's coming.

Like her friend comes to everything with her. They're just inseparable. So that's the level of friendship that we had. So things are really good. We're going on about a year now? Just, I am so happy because I'm doing fitness that I love and I have this best friend. Who's like a sister that I never had and I'm just happy.

So I buy my, I buy a house. This is my second house after my divorce. And I'm just feeling so proud of myself because of what I've been through. And now I'm starting fresh and I'm doing it on my own. This friend moves in as a roommate. So now her and I are living together and I'm just like, man, life is good.

I've got my own home. I'm doing work that I love my best friend and I are roommates. Like we're traveling. Like this is just fantastic. I'm living wholeheartedly in this friendship because I have no reason not to. I have no reason not to. She's showing up after about a year of our friendship, things start to get a little bit weird.

She starts to kind of like, I don't know, she starts to just get a little distant, which I knew obviously she was going through a hard time, but so her ex-husband had moved back locally. She was having a hard time handling that, having him around locally when he wasn't before. And I'm like, I am digging into this friendship.

I'm like, look, it's okay. I'm here for you. Like, I know this is really painful. I know what you're going through. Like, let's talk about this, let's work through this. And the more I was willing to show up, the more she distanced herself, which confused me. I was like, I don't understand, like, I'm trying to be here for this person.

And they don't want to be here for me, or they don't want me to be there for them, but I've been through this. Like why would they not want to show up. So I keep showing up, showing up because I am just wholeheartedly invested in this friendship. I care about her. I would do anything for her. I understand her pain.

I want to help her through that. And she just I'm giving her her space, things, get a little weird. And one day I come home and she hasn't responded to my messages. And I'm like, this is really weird that she hasn't responded. And now I start to get concerned and I never see this girl again. So I go upstairs.

I go where her room is, all of her stuff is still there. And I find bottles, I'm talking bottles of Oxy all over the place and I'm like, oh God damn it. Like I had no idea. And most time you don't, when people are dealing with problems like this, most of the time you don't and I'm calling her, calling her family.

Colin, a mutual friend of ours. None of them know where she's at. None of them know what's going on. I did not tell them what I found because I don't want to, I don't want them to worry. I realized she would not have one of them to know either. I'm trying to figure it out. So days go by. I haven't heard from this friend, I have no idea where she is totally confused and lost.

Finally, her mom calls me crying because she's concerned. I'm concerned too. Her mom comes over. I take her upstairs. Her mom sees everything and just falls apart in front of me. And then her dad shows up and her dad does the exact same thing. And my heart is just breaking because I don't know where my best friend is, but also now I have to deal with her parents, heartbreak of finding out that their daughter has been basically living her life with a drug problem.

And nobody knows where she is. We don't know if she's alive, she's dead or whatever. So I got to call the cops. Cops show up. I got to file a missing persons report. Her parents are just like losing their mind and to this day, never heard from that friend again, never heard from that friend again, I don't know where she's at.

I hope she's okay. They never found her. And in that moment was when I made a belief of all right. Well, that really sucked. I mean, that's a very. That's a very surfacey way of putting it. Like that was the scariest friendship thing I think I've ever been through. I don't think I want to do that again. So therefore from this moment on, there is no way in hell I am investing that much of my time, emotions and energy in your friendship, like screw that. Watching somebody's family fall apart like that in front of you. No, I'm going to pass. Thanks life. Like, no, thank you. So. For years. I mean, I used to have nightmares about this girl, just like, God, I hope she's alive.

I don't know what happened to her, but also in the process of this, I can't help, but figure out was I not valuable enough to you as a friend for you to at least give me some sort of like heads up or for you to at least respond to me? At least tell me what's going on because you know how much I care about you, but for you to totally just abandon the friendship.

And not tell me why makes me feel like I did something wrong when all I did was show up for you. So this is example number one. And here's what happened afterwards. Like after going through this for a very, very long time. And now my, my expectations in friendship are close to nothing. I'm just like, you know what F it, like, I don't care.

I'll just be alone. I'll be by myself. It took me so much time to recognize and understand all of it. And I have, this is the way my brain works. I have to understand everything in order for me to be able to fully move on from it. And I'll be totally honest. I kind of wish I wasn't like that because it makes it a whole lot easier and less painful.

But here I am. So it is what it is. And the recognition in this is obviously the pain, the level of pain that she felt going through her divorce was so deep. That she could not match that level. She couldn't recognize it. She was not in a place that she could deal with it. And the more that I wanted to help her deal with it, the less she was willing to, I pushed probably too far, but I also am pointing out the fact that she also was doing her own things of dealing with drugs and trying to cover up that pain and numb it out.

And hide it. I didn't know that until years later, when I just kind of did the emotional work on myself to really establish things and move forward because I no longer wanted to have friendships that were just surfacey as painful as it was. I still value deep human connection and deep levels of friendships.

But also this is also why sometimes I just tell my friends like, Hey, my PTSD is flaring up. I'm scared. You're going to abandon me. Can you just let me know? You're okay. Because I've had things happen. However, when you do the work on yourself, you do the emotional work. You acknowledge your own pain, you see things for what they are.

You can see it, you can acknowledge the fear, but then you can choose to move forward and create what you want instead of move forward and take action, trying to avoid what you don't want, because that's what happens. If you don't acknowledge things. You don't take risks and take the time to see yourself intimately and acknowledge things that you've been through then every action and behavior and things that you take moving forward are coming from a place of fear to avoid the pain that you already have been through.

That is deep inside, which none of us actually want to happen. So then what happens is if we don't acknowledge this pain and deal with it and feel it and process and all of it, we, then we create these dramas in these stories in our mind that we move forward with, and we will recreate situations out of these dramas and fears instead of acknowledging them for what they are and move forward.

So here's an example of that. Let's say you're walking around with. I don't know. Let's say you've got a fear of truly investing your heart into someone or something, but deep down, you have a very painful experience that has happened to you, that you haven't fully admitted to, or been honest with yourself about.

And in the moment of this painful experience, you identify and establish the belief of this happened to me because I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy enough. I'm not deserving or valuable enough or I'm too much or whatever it is. So you establish this, but you haven't recognized this or shined a flashlight on this part of yourself to tell it the truth that the truth is no, this had nothing to do with you.

So instead what will happen is when the opportunity for true connection shows up in your life, you will be given the choice to move forward with the intention of creating that connection. Or on acknowledged pain, you take the fear. And a lot of this is unconscious. Most people are walking around very unaware of their own patterns and behaviors.

So the other thing is you move forward with the pain in the back of your mind because you haven't acknowledged it with the fear of the validation of the belief that you have inside of you of not being enough or not good enough or not valuable enough. And you will create dramas in your life. Unconsciously to avoid the vulnerability and to avoid the pain. So think of this, like a real life example, you have the opportunity to create a connection with a friendship or relationship, a family member or whatever, but deep down you have this fear that you're not aware of because of a pain. You also haven't acknowledged.

So instead of saying, Hey, I see you fear, I see you pain. I know it's there. We did have a really scary experience. However, I would like real connection in my life. So while I see you and I appreciate you and acknowledge you, I'm still going to take a risk and move forward. Instead of that, you have this thing running around in the background all the time of I'm not good enough. I'm not valuable enough. I don't deserve this. They won't love me for who I really am. And you create dramas or problems that push these people away so that you never have to experience the pain. And it will further validate the fear that you already have. So you do only things you push people away that actually want that true connection with you.

And then when you've pushed them so far that they have no choice, but to leave. You revalidate the deep subconscious belief of see I'm not good enough. See, I don't deserve it. See, it's not worth the risk, but you're doing this unconsciously and you're walking around creating the exact same drama over and over establishing the exact same belief because you've not taken the time to acknowledge the fear so that that fear and pain stops running your life.

So another situation of this and this one, the first one was the friendship. The next one is around love. So with love. And again, this has taken me years, years of figuring this out, undoing my own dramas, undoing my own self sabotage and limitations and capacity to love other people. So this exact same time story I just told you about the best friend getting hooked on Oxy and totally just disappearing. Now it's been, I don't know, 10 years. I hope she's. If she's listening to this, I hope you're okay. Um, Anyways, this exact same time. This guy enters my life. This guy is three or four years older than me. I'm 20. I don't remember 22, 23, somewhere around that very impressionable age.

I did not know what head over heels in love felt like until I met this guy. I did not know to not love wholeheartedly or to not hold or to hold back or to keep parts of myself safe. Mostly because I was young, mostly because I was innocent and I had never been heartbroken before. I mean, I had gone through a divorce, but the love in that relationship was very different than this kind of love.

So I go into this relationship totally 100% without any concerns in the world. My whole heart, my whole soul, everything that I have is in this person, he is, I think he was three or four years older than me. I don't remember that much either, which is great because it means that I'm emotionally removed from the situation and the healing has happened.

But anyways, he's three or four years older than me. He is experienced. He has been in relationships. He is a little more reserved and cautious about how much and how deeply he loves. I don't care at this time. I just love the guy. I love the guy with every part of my being, and I don't see any reason not to.

Right? So we meet. Things progressed very quickly. I am like write love letters, sending these texts about how much I love him. Everybody knows it. His family knows it. My family knows it. We're getting closer and closer. We're like just full, spontaneous, carefree, love. So things are going well, things are progressing.

I've never felt this way before. I didn't know. You could actually love this way before. It felt like something out of a movie. And we got to this point about six months in where I could feel it was, it was the moment where like, we love each other. And I know he loved me to the level that he could. So I know we love each other.

We both are recognizing like, wow, I've never felt this way about somebody before. This is amazing. Except for, for me, there's this feeling of like, I feel like we've gotten to the point where we love each other as much as we can, but it feels like for him, he still has his life, his friends, his job, his local community.

And I'm over here, like ready to dive in, like, okay, why don't we now build our life, our friends, our community, our home. And do this together. I was there. So we start fighting because this is what, this is the direction that I'm headed and the direction that he's headed feels like. I think I want that, but also, like, I also want to keep things separate.

Why do you want to keep things separate? Well, just because this is how I want to live my life. So while, while we're fighting, he's given me his argument, which is totally justified because that's about as much vulnerability as he can handle me. In the meantime, I'm like vulnerability. I don't even know what that is.

Here's my heart like, do with it, what you want. So we're going through this, going through this. And I'm so confused because I'm like, I don't understand, like, this guy loves me. I love him, but why does it feel like he's keeping his own life here at a distance? Instead of us like creating this life together.

And I'm saying all this from working through all of this years later, while I'm in it, I would not have had this perspective. And that's never how life works. You know, hindsight is 20/20. So we keep getting closer and closer and his parents are like, oh my God, he's never talked about anybody. The way he talks about you, which then further makes my heart love him more because I'm like, this guy loves me.

This is it. I'm all in. And then my family saying the same thing. So now we're, I don't know, eight months in. This is right after that best friend just totally runs away. And it's the first time we're going to go meet my parents for dinner. So this is the first time like me, him, my parents were having dinner and like, this is a very serious relationship.

They're going to see how much I love him, how much he loves me. We're taking things to the next level and I'm getting dressed. I'm at home and I'm excited. And he calls me and I'm confused as to why he's calling me because he should know be there. He's meeting me at my house so we can ride together and he calls me and he tells me he can no longer do this.

And that this is the last time him and I are ever going to talk for a very long time. I don't know if you've ever had your heart crushed so unexpectedly in that way. But I remember when he said that. It felt like the wind got knocked out of my gut. Like I literally felt like I couldn't breathe and I was so confused and it felt so surreal on how can I feel this way.

And now you're totally just ending things. And I don't know what I'm going to tell my parents. Now I have to call them embarrassed because you just called me out of the blue, broke up with me. All these things are happening. So he hangs up the phone. I've fall apart, cry my eyes out. I have no idea what to do and I call my parents and they're totally shocked and confused too.

And that's it. It's done. We split up. I don't see this guy again. We don't talk again. I have no closure as to what happened and now I'm like, is it because here's what stupid is in moments of this I'm like, am I too fat? Am I not pretty enough, is it because I'm a brunette and I'm not a blonde? I mean, I know he likes blondes, did I love him too much.

Did I not love him enough? Was it because I wanted to merge our lives together? I don't know. And the problem with love, like this is when that happens and the same thing with my friend and you don't get answers. You have to create the answers on your own, which totally sucks because. You're like, I know this is what it is.

I know it's because I was too fat. Mind you, I wasn't fat at all. It's just, this is what I believed. Oh, it's because I wasn't good enough. I was good enough. He wouldn't have done this. Am I not good enough for an explanation? Because I feel like I at least deserve an explanation. And so from this moment on I established the belief in myself around love.

Love is a fairytale love. True love doesn't exist. Nobody loves that way. I did, but I'll never do it again because that sucked. And I don't know if I'm ever going to recover from this. And in this moment, it took me years of trying to figure this out. Why, what is wrong with me that this best friend disappears with my life.

And doesn't give me any explanation. What is also wrong with me that now this person who I loved so much and I thought loved me has now disappeared from my life with no explanation and how can I immediately get on the path to fixing myself so that I never feel this kind of pain again. And what happened is I ended up shutting off that pain after that one.

Like I felt it to a certain extent. So then to the point where I was like, I don't, I can't know, like, this is not, I'm not coming out of this. If I keep going in this, I'm not coming out of this. It's been six months and I still want to cry every time I hear this guy's name. Nope. Not doing that. Shut that down, put that pain to the side and let's not acknowledge that.

And I didn't. And what proceeded after all of this is every friend that I had, I was committed to and close to. To the level that I also knew that if, and I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I already admitted it once on another podcast. This was the period of me dating down was like, all right. I love my friends and I love this person that I'm dating, but I love them enough that they can feel my love.

But also I know that if I walked away from this, I can walk away with a clean slate. And I can walk away without a totally crushed heart. I might feel more it's basically, it would feel more like a sprained ankle then like somebody cut my entire leg off and I can't walk. That's kind of the level that I was doing this.

And I did this for a while. I'm talking probably from like 23 to maybe like 26, 27 of just surface-y surface-y surface-y. And if this is how to make it in this world. This was how to fit in and not feel totally alone and like an outsider then. Okay. I can play this game. It makes me feel disconnected, but whatever that's what everybody else does.

So that's what I'm going to do. And the problem with doing this is the longer you do it, the easier it gets for you to be completely disconnected from society because you're disconnecting from a part of yourself. And it sucks. And it got so bad that at one point there was this guy that I, he thinks we were in a relationship.

I didn't, I mean, to me, we were dating, but I knew what it was not going to turn into. I wasn't gonna marry this guy. This guy was not my, the love of my life, but we were, I mean, we practically were dating for close to like eight to nine months. And one day we had this conversation and he was just like, yeah, I just already know it.

I already know how this is going to work for you. Like you and I aren't going to fight. There's not going to be big, some big blow up. You're just going to either see me or call me or something. You're like, Hey, so I think I'm done with this. I'm going to try something else and move on. He's like, I'm just going to wait for that call.

And he, I mean, unfortunately he was a hundred percent accurate because that was the level of investment that I had and the level of pain that I was willing to feel. Would I be sad? Yeah. Would I be crushed? No, but the problem is nobody wants to actually live their life this way. You want to truly be seen.

I want to truly be seen what you don't want is the pain that is associated with truly being seen and known and exposed. But in order to get to that level friend, listener, whoever you are. You have to spend time alone. And before you lay all the cards out on the table for other people, you got to lay the cards out on a table for yourself in a very judgment free kind of way.

And this is hard to do because even like the examples that I gave you about these stories with this best friend and the very first time I ever felt true heartbreak, it was very hard when years had gone by for me to admit without being embarrassed that it still bothered me that I was still struggling with it.

So it may have happened when I was 22, but when I'm 26 and I'm still feeling pain around this because I have no answers to why this happened. It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing to admit to people, however, if I want to move forward with my life and heal this pain so that I can have the true connection that I really want embarrassed or not.

I got to take a look at it and acknowledge it for what it is. And so do you. You got to acknowledge it. I don't care if you were four, when you got your heart totally crushed. See it for what it is, the pain is there. It's kind of like anything else when you stop ignoring it and just look at it. Eventually it just dissolves.

It goes away because you're not scared of it anymore. So see the pain for one and what it is. And the only way you can do this is by spending time alone. The thing about life is you can not recognize when something is being given to you until you have given it to yourself. People who love themselves, recognize true love from others.

If they don't love themselves, even if I try to love you, you wouldn't be able to recognize it or acknowledge it because it doesn't exist within you. The same thing with pain, pain recognizes pain, vulnerability recognizes vulnerability. When I see somebody else that seems like they're looking for true connection. I will take that step forward. I will take the risk because I recognize it. But in order for you to get there in order for you to re recognize true love in order for you to recognize true connection, true friendship, and people who really show up for you, you got to first do it for yourself. I mean, unfortunately this is the way life is.

We want things to happen first. We want people to show up first, give us a connection first, before we have to do anything. But that's the way you do things backwards. It never happens that way. You're going to end up waiting forever. Feeling more and more disconnected, trying to figure out why is it that I really, really want this true friendship.

I really, really want to be connected in a disconnected world. I really want to create this intimate relationship with another human being, but I can't get it. Well, have you ever given it to yourself? There you go. So I hope with this podcast, One, it kind of sooths your heart a little bit to know that if you have had crushing heartbreak, you are not the only one.

If you have had moments where you have totally shown up, completely invested in friendships and not have that reciprocated, there's nothing wrong with you. When people can't match the level of vulnerability or connection that you want, they have no choice, but to leave that's okay. That doesn't mean that you need to change or you need to fix yourself.

It means that you accept it, acknowledge it, and then you choose to be brave and courageous and show up again and again, so that you can have that connection. All right. You get another almost hour long episode. And I am so grateful that I get the opportunity to have these conversations with you to all of you who have given me Instagram messages, emails left me a review.

Thank you so much because every time you do this, it makes me more inspired to do this. And honestly, the reason I share all of these stories is to give you kind of the same analogy of like I'm throwing my cards on the table, just to let you know, Hey, it's safe. There are other people out there who do function wholeheartedly the way that you can and the way that you want to. And I'm showing you that it's okay. If you feel pain, just keeping you though, don't let the pain end up Callison you and hardening you because what this world really needs is more wholehearted people, not more people functioning from a safe place, just out of the fear of being hurt. All right. Like I said, at the beginning, if you want to get the weekly emails from me and connect with me even more, please head over to ABSpancakes.com.

That's where you can get all of that. Share this with somebody who needs a little connection in their week. And until next time I will see you in the other episodes.

 

Here's to Creating a Body & Life You Love,

Ashley Drummonds

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