Jessica Soroky Guest Post #25: I Can Allow This, Not Tolerate It, and Still Love You

A few months ago I shared in a blog post my struggle to face and respond to a problem I never imagined would be one that I would encounter — my friend attempted to take her life.

My “I can fix it” default mentality took over, and I convinced myself I could do something to keep this from ever happening again. I went as far as to think I could save my friend.

After processing through the problem with The Leadership Gift™ Program community of practitioners and coaches, I had a breakthrough realizing I had absolutely no control over my friend’s choices. The question was, “Can I accept this to be a reality for her?”

I recognized I could accept it completely — not simply tolerate it — and still love my friend.

Days passed, and I stood next to her as she began processing her depression. She wanted a distraction, something to throw her mind into to avoid the problem all together. It worked for most of the day but at night, alone, there was nothing left to distract her.

She began reaching out to me and a few other friends, moving through the different mental states in The Responsibility Process™. She would justify the depression, and then live in shame about the effect it was having on her, her family, and her career.

I shared the The Responsibility Process model with her and delicately worked with her to raise her awareness on where she was in the process.

Months passed doing this. Recently, I came to my breaking point, after two very scary incidents within a week.

Her personal accountability was gone, and when I expressed my immense concern to her, I was met with excuses and more justification, sometimes even denial that there was a solution. I was living in fear every time she disappeared that the next call would be letting me know my friend was gone.

I had to stop before I exploded and responded emotionally. I turned the mirror on myself and started looking at what exactly I was feeling and at raising my awareness as to where I was in the process.

I was scared, terrified actually. I recognized that I could allow the reality of her making this choice to take her own life again and then it hit me. I was saying I could allow it but my actions were still trying to “fix it.” More so, I was tolerating this behavior to have an impact in my life, affecting my work when she would disappear.

I would leave meetings to find her. For a brief instance, I went to Shame — there had to have been something more I could’ve done to coach her, to help her through this.

I turned again to my community and mentor, and in the midst of telling the story, I made a comment I wasn’t even aware I was thinking until I heard it come out of my mouth: “She doesn’t want to change. She knows it’s a choice and continues to choose this.”

As I heard what I said I got mad. She is choosing to do this! And then I was asked, “Can you still love her?”

Without hesitating, I say: “Of course I love her, she is like a sister to me. I will always love her.”

I had to process this more, my emotions were on edge and I was aware I was still below the line, I wasn’t responding from responsibility.

To not tolerate this behavior could result in losing my friend in a different way. Could I not have her in my life and be confident in knowing that nothing would change — that I love her and support her?

And this brings us to today: I currently struggle with understanding how to allow her to do whatever she is going to do and walking away without feeling guilt or a sense of letting my friend down if she does something I won’t tolerate.

The comfort I am finding as I dive deeper into my journey is that in the midst of the storm I have complete trust in The Responsibility Process model, and trust that the community is there to help me get through anything I face as long as I need it.

Jessica Soroky, CSM
Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

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Posted in Leadership on 02/26/2014 01:29 am
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