The Biggest Leap

by Alli Polin on August 9, 2013

Being vulnerable and acknowledging that you care is the biggest leap

I’ve been mulling over this post on the biggest leap for a while.  I could write a great post about trust, and how that enables each of us to make the leap from where we are today and truly create a more powerful and inspiring future.  I’d have some great tips and know-how too since I work with people who are committed to doing just that.  Still, it would fall flat without the missing ingredient:  My heart and truth speaking to your heart. Words are just words that we process and chew on in our brains… until we feel it.

The biggest leap is from heart to heart, not from here to there. ~ Alli Polin (Click to Tweet)

biggest leap

How many times have you heard:

  • I don’t know if I’ll ever let myself fall in love again.
  • I totally trusted them and got burned – never again!
  • I really feel like I can trust my boss but everyone tells me to be wary.
  • It’s easier to let other people do the talking so I never have to talk about myself.
  • I’m just not sure I’m ready to leap into another relationship.
  • We’ve totally fallen out; there’s no chance for repair.
  • I just know that she hates me.  I just know it.

Here’s my story of connection and justification for my willingness to let it all go.  (Hint: Justification is something we do to make ourselves feel better… we’re not really justified in our actions.)

I have an old and dear friend that I love beyond measure… and I have not spoken to her in over a decade.  We both had our first children around the same time and she discovered that her child has autism.  In response, she retreated from many of the people that loved her the most; she went inside of herself with her pain, confusion, love and hope.  As she retreated further and further inside of her protective shell, our contact ceased.  Here’s the most important part:  Although our contact ended, our connection did not – my heart is still open to her, loving her and her son with incredible intensity.

What’s stopping us from reconnecting?

Embarrassment – It’s been a long time

Fear – Will we understand the choices we’ve each made?

Concern – Don’t want to intrude on her life

Lies – I should wait for her to be ready

Hurt – Why did she so willingly let go?  Why did I?

Pain – I miss my friend

Justification (better known as “The Way to Feel Better ASAP”)

When we justify our actions, we’re making ourselves feel alright about our behavior and instead of going with our heart’s instinct, we start to weave a story.

Alli’s Heart’s Instinct:  Call my friend that’s hurting.  Email her.  Don’t give up on her.  Let her know I’m there when she’s ready… over… and over… and over.

Alli’s Behavior: What the heck?  Did she drop off the face of the earth?  Fine.

Alli’s Justification: She lives far away anyway and she really wasn’t making that much time for our friendship.  In fact, I think I clearly valued it more since I was happy to keep in touch and she’s not. You know, I clearly misjudged her.

Alli’s Reality: I’ve lost touch with a best friend but my heart, even a decade later, still hurts.

We are both responsible and we both have an opportunity. 

Here’s the truth:

It may seem next to impossible but all we have to do is pick up the phone or send an email – and stop accepting the silence.  It may feel vulnerable, it may feel scary but it’s not too late.

The biggest leap is a willingness to show our full-selves and our full-hearts to another human being.

The biggest leap is a willingness to accept others for who they are, faults, choices, excuses and all.

The biggest leap is a willingness to stop justifying our behaviors and to see others as humans, our equals.

The biggest leap is a willingness to say I’m at fault.

The biggest leap is a willingness to say I care.

The biggest leap is a willingness to extend your hand first.

Oh… If you happen to read this post, my most special friend, the invitation is there indefinitely: “We will always go dancing.”

When have you decided to live behind a protective wall instead of letting yourself make a heart connection?  Are you willing to make the biggest leap?

Are you ready to make the leap?  For speaking, coaching or consulting, Let’s Connect!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Lolly Daskal August 9, 2013 at 7:39 am

I love your work Alli and I feel this is my most favorite post of all.

I speaks the language of the heart.

I especially LOVE “the biggest leaps!” All true sentiments. ALL the roads to fulfillment.

Alli I admire who you are and what you do.

Keep leaping into my life!

Lolly

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Alli Polin August 9, 2013 at 8:38 am

Lolly –

I have learned so much from you, your heart based leadership and Lead from Within. We all want to do and have so much in our lives but it all starts with giving from our hearts and connection. Lucky to have connected with you!

xoxo

Alli

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Matt August 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

Excellent post. So often (but only all the time), the only thing that keeps us from forgiving and healing is our thoughts.

And, at least for me, the thought that keeps me from forgiving is my attachment to the idea that “I’m right” and “They’re wrong” and that if I “give in” I will have weakened myself and that they will have “won.”

What I’m learning — and working on integrating — is that forgiving,* even when others are “wrong” is the strongest, bravest (most loving) thing I can do for everyone involved (especially me).

* Of course, people that we forgive don’t have to be a part of our lives anymore, they can be one of the billions that _aren’t_ in our lives that we love, just because they’re humans just like us.

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Alli Polin August 9, 2013 at 8:40 am

Matt – All great points! Thank you for sharing here! What really struck me is that forgiveness is not only the most loving thing you can do for others, but for yourself as well. So often we forget to turn our compassion on ourselves and truly remember that we are ALL human.

Thank you, Matt!

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Blair Glaser August 9, 2013 at 10:20 am

Beautiful post Alli!!!!
This speaks to so many broken connections, I love your framing and vulnerability in it.
So . . . I saw the shout out to her, but . . . didya call her?
xoxox

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Alli Polin August 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

You know, I don’t have her phone number… but with the limited contact points I do have, I have reached out… not just now, but over the past 10 years too.

Broken connections are funny. I have many that I think “I wonder what happened to so-and-so” and then I just as quickly forget. When there is a heart connection, it goes deeper than just losing touch.

Thanks, Blair!

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Kaarina Dillabough August 9, 2013 at 10:28 am

Here’s the thing. You still feel pain after all these years. You hurt, and by not connecting, you’re actually punishing yourself. Your most telling statement is “Although our contact ended, our connection did not.” And right now, that beautiful connection is marred because each thought/remembrance of it brings you pain.

It takes strength and love of oneself to extend the olive branch and be first to reach out. But by simply saying something like “I miss you. I love you. I think of you often. I just wanted you to know.” can perhaps be the first step on a bridge to bring you closer. And if not, I do believe you will feel a huge weight off your shoulders and a stronger song in your heart. You don’t need to leap: you just need to step. Lovely, strong post my friend. Cheers! Kaarina

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Alli Polin August 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Kaarina –

You are too awesome. I have reached out to her over the years and I’ve also gotten some heartfelt hand-written letters from her. I think what that has done is to let the other one know that they are present, without being present.

I actually have another old friend that I speak to and email to very rarely but the connection is not broken. When we do connect, however intermittent and brief, the warmth, spark and relationship are as strong as 20 years ago.

I no longer have her phone number or physical address (or maybe an even updated email address) but when it matters, there is always a way.

Appreciate you!

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Jackie Walker August 10, 2013 at 4:58 am

I am good friends with the justification trap – it’s the one which makes me laugh when I see what I’m doing – and usually that’s after I’ve cried. Kaarina’s comment is spot on, there is no leap, simply a step – what a lovely observation and reminder.

I feel that with the connection you keep alive, having learned this humungous lesson, a surprise might be en route!

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Alli Polin August 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Glad to know I’m not alone, Jackie! I’m very skilled with justifications too – how awesome is it to notice now!

I agree… reconnection is absolutely a step… letting ourselves admit what we’re feeling, that’s often the leap.

I’ve written to my friend over the years, even since publishing this post! And I believe that she gets the messages – I never feel blown off by her anymore, just that it’s not the right time.

Fingers crossed for that surprise!

Many thanks for your comment and adding depth to this post and the experience!

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LaRae Quy August 10, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Alli

This is a wonderful post, written from the heart. I love this sentence: “Words are just words that we process and chew on in our brains… until we feel it.” As they say, the longest trip in the world is from the head to the heart.

Thanks for reminding us ….

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Alli Polin August 11, 2013 at 7:06 am

There is much truth in that, LaRae! The leap is also to let ourselves truly make the trip and not just some empty stabs at it to say “I tried.”

Thanks so much for your comment!

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Alice Chan August 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Absolutely love this post, Alli, and I feel your words coming straight from your heart! To answer your question, the time I made the heart-t0-heart leap, in spite of my ego’s protestations, was when I swallowed my much wounded pride and seriously justified indignation to apologize to my mom so that we could end a stalemate. She had made her rounds picking fights with EVERYONE in my family around the world. I saw it coming when she called me, but still fell for it. I got so mad at her that I actually hung up on her!!! I’ve never done that in my life. Anyway, I called her to leave a message to apologize for doing that, and invited her to dialogue calmly. By apologizing for my part in the situation (even thought I still felt attacked and indignant), I gave her an out for backing herself into a corner in which her pride had her trapped and got us talking again. My relationship with my mom is a constant work-in-progress, and there really isn’t a permanent solution for the unhealthy dynamics that creep up every now and then. However, I know that I have what it takes to manage it the best I can, remembering that I can’t change her, but I have full control on how to change my reaction to her. Thank you again for this great post that touched my heart, Alli!

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Alli Polin August 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Alice,

You made the heart to heart leap despite your ego’s protestations. That is truly what it’s all about. To be open to love and accept people for who they are despite how frustrating their behaviors may be. When we are truly in relationship with someone, we can choose to be responsive or resistant. Thank you for sharing this story of your responsive choice. Definitely hits home!!

~ Alli

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Samantha August 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Beautiful post Alli. : )

This is a wonderful example that demonstrates how tender and vulnerable we are in relationship, regardless of the nature or dynamics. Whether that be with a spouse/significant other, a boss, co-worker, or friend.

In my own life, I can see how I WANT the dance of relating to be far more graceful and effortless then it has been. In reality, relating is a bit more clumsy and filled with many moments of stepping on each others toes long before it can reach that practiced ‘state of grace’ when two people know each other very well.

Frankly, I would love to be able to skip the clumsy parts and jump straight into ‘instant knowing’ so I can bypass the rest! haha In doing so though, I forget that the whole journey from beginning to end IS the dance. We crawl before we learn to walk. We walk before we learn to run. And so it is in our relationships. There’s bound to be some stepping on each others toes in terms of encountering invisible landmines, triggers, temperaments, and styles until we mutually get to know each others internal landscape better. (speaking in general)

There’s one friend I have in mind where we had a bit of a falling out. I pushed the person away first out of frustration. Then when I realized that isn’t what I really wanted, I truly VALUED that relationship, and that person remained closed towards me after that. To this day, my heart is still open and would love nothing more then to reconcile as friends and I’ve made that clear. Yet, the ball is in their court. If they wanted to be friends again, they would be.

At first, it was really painful to accept. The sting of rejection was just awful. No two ways about it. Over time, this relationship has taught me a great deal about unconditional love. And I don’t mean in the unhealthy, co-dependent sense. The healing in my own heart has allowed my genuine love and care for this person to evolve to the point that I can now ALLOW them to ‘be’ …without me. If that is what they choose, want, or need. I’ve learned that the ALLOWING of this grace and freedom to BE without me is yet another facet of love. I’ve learned that for whatever reason, this person isn’t in a space where they can grow WITH me in friendship and so I don’t have to take it personally any more if this is what they need. I can let them go and grow on their own and have been able to retain my love and devotion in my heart towards them.

And if/when my friend every wants to re-connect again, I know that my hands and heart are open to receive them with love and joy.

Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderfully vulnerable, heart felt post that has allowed me the opportunity to put part of my own heart into words for a similar situation. : )

xoxo

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Alli Polin August 13, 2013 at 10:03 pm

I’m so sincerely touched by your sharing, Samantha! Your story is totally familiar to my heart. Unconditional love is an amazing gift and source of strength. When our love is not returned, it stings (a lot) but really, it’s not about us any longer.

Wow… the dance! YES! What if we could just say “let’s cut the crap – here I am!” When we find someone that we can truly just let our hair down and BE. it’s amazing. When that person is lost (maybe they found another dance partner) we can choose to live with the pain or gratitude for our time together.

You are one incredible woman, Samantha! Thank you for sharing who you are here.

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