This is the final instalment of key learning from my recent hospital visit. This time I want to talk with you about vulnerability and personal development. I want to suggest that when we face suffering or hardship there is also an opportunity to let those close to us be a part of that journey. We grow as we learn to share our burdens and as we discover that vulnerability and personal development have a closer relationship than we think.
How tough times can deepen relationships
Well. Hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you, as always for The Daily podcast Thank you for joining me wherever you are in the world. So many wonderful and interesting places in this great big planet I’ve had the pleasure of visiting over the last couple of years. So wherever, if I’ve met you somewhere at a live event, I hope you’re doing well. Looking forward to some more travel next year. Let’s press in. This is going to be the final installment of I guess the lessons that I took out of my recent hospitalization.
Those listening regularly know that I had a pretty bad accident and I was in hospital for a while. Just got out last week. So I’ve talked about, it was a pretty serious accident and a pretty heavy process. So I’ve talked about the first two lessons. Really, the first one was around gratitude, around realizing that no matter how bad things are, there’s always an enormous amount to be grateful for in life. If you’re deliberate and conscious and choose to switch your focus and your attention to the things that are good in your life.
We don’t have any trouble identifying the terrible things. As a species, we actually have a biological, evolutionary psychology, predisposition to negativity, believe it or not. And I’ve talked about that in previous podcasts. We actually, you know, one of the things that kept us alive was pessimism. Ad we evolved as a species, optimists tended to get killed quite frequently, because they did things that took risk. Now of course eventually risks paid off over hundreds of thousands of years, but as a species we have evolved to be quite negative at times. So often it’s easy for us to identify everything that isn’t working. And of course our news cycle and media cycle reinforces that.
It serves up everything that’s going wrong in the world for us. So we’ve got to be deliberate about gratitude. The second major lesson I wish I shared, I think yesterday was just around not letting the environment dictate our response. So for me it was about bringing a lot of positivity to the nursing staff and the people that were there. So I want to do a final message on what I learned out of all this, which is around this topic of vulnerability.
I’d never thought I’d be speaking about this because I’ve always been a pretty, I don’t know how to say this, I guess self-contained, sort of really just don’t ask for help very much. Just get on with things, like to push myself. And so I think people have often assumed that that yeah, that I’m that I’m that kind of person that I’m very self contained and have everything figured out, which is not true.
A good accident and hospital visit will test that. And I wanted to talk to you that I quickly about vulnerability, which was what I learned very quickly in the hospital was when you sort of can’t go to the bathroom on your own, I still can’t brush my teeth at the moment. My hands are still fully bandaged and will be for another six to eight weeks. So I had this constant experience of just the blessing that came from people looking after me.
One of my closest friends would come in every morning at 5:00 to 6:00 and I’d get up and brush my teeth. He would brush my teeth. He’s one of my best friends. I’d have to stand there and have one of my best friends brush my teeth. And when I actually did the accident and I was in the emergency area, I had a friend there who was a guy that I knew who was actually looking after me as a nurse. He actually had to help me with a bathroom visit.
I’m not going to give you any details. Relax, I’m not going to traumatize anybody. But when you’re getting that kind of help from someone you know closely, you’re like there’s this moment where you realize that we can end up at times very dependent on others in a good way. The visitors that I had, I was really touched and blessed by people making an effort to come in and see me. What I learned and what I’m still learning is this reliance that I actually have that I need other people.
Now, I’ve done podcasts before about asking for help. Sometimes we need to ask for help in life. We need to, and I’ve spoken about that, but this is different. What I want you to understand is that when we experience our own limitation and our own brokenness and our own vulnerability, what I’ve observed happening is not that people are turned away by it, but it actually builds relationship and draws people much closer to us.
Now, here’s the important disclaimer. The obvious other end of this spectrum would be to be going around everywhere, being vulnerable all the time. Putting everything out there with anyone you meet, and that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is there are people in your life right now who would probably, you would probably have a deeper level of relationship if you were able more often to be honest and open and vulnerable.
So what I think is that if we don’t choose to do this, life has a habit of eventually doing it to us. So whether it’s sickness, illness, losing a job, a relationship ending, all of us at some point in life are going to end up in a time where we’re finding it really hard. It’s in those moments that we can begin to reach out and talk to people and tell people what’s actually happening for us and ask for help.
I just want to share with you in this short message that what happens is this beautiful deepening of relationship, real deepening of relationship. Now, it doesn’t have to be really in terms of close personal relationships, it could even be in a work relationship where we stopped BSing each other and acting like we all know the answers to everything all the time, and we just tell the truth.
We say, “I don’t know what to do here. Can I talk to you about it?” It might be you’re a parent and you’re really struggling with something, but you just tell the truth to a close friend and say, “Hey, I’m really lost here. Can we catch up? I want to talk to you.” I guess all I’m saying is that when we are honest about what’s happening for us, when we’re truthful about what’s happening internally, then I just want you to understand people don’t run the other way.
People actually tend to be quite beautiful about it and it’s one of the beautiful things about us as a species that we just have this ability to care for each other, but people can’t care for you if they don’t know what’s happening. So my experience was that the brokenness and the pain forced me into a situation of accepting the love and care of people, which was quite challenging and new for me and really quite beautiful and quite transformative.
I think it’s really deepened a few key relationships. Karen and I have been married almost 20 years, but her care for me and has just been off the scale like she has just been been beyond phenomenal and our relationship has gone through a deepening just through my reliance on her in a way that normally probably doesn’t happen that often because I’m out there saving the world and all of a sudden I needed to be looked after.
So end of lecture. Don’t be afraid of vulnerability. Don’t be afraid of telling the truth to the people that love you the most. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people that care about you. Don’t be afraid in your work, your training, whatever area of life is significant for you. Don’t be afraid to open up and tell the truth. All right?
That’s it for the hospital lessons. Tomorrow I’m going to press onto something else, but always make sure you’re following me. Instagram at jonathandoyle47
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Make sure you’ve subscribed to the podcast and as always, please share this with someone. Listen, this is part of a full, rich human life. The best is ahead. It is not behind. We’re not here to have shallow relationships. We’re not here just to be isolated and cut off in our own little perfect social media worlds of independence. We’re here to build deep relationships.
It’s one of those beautiful things about life. So my prayer for you today is that you’ll be open to this, that you will deepen these relationships by vulnerability, and asking for help when you need it. God bless everybody. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Daily podcast and I’m going to have another message for you tomorrow.