Have you ever shown up somewhere you were invited only to be met with a sense of awkward surprise at your arrival? Maybe you were the new friend among old ones. Maybe you felt under or overdressed. No matter the circumstance, discomfort is not a fun. It does, however, tend to impact future decisions.
On occasion, I accept an invitation while simultaneously wondering why I felt compelled to do so. There is a difference between an empty invitation and true desire and it’s not too tricky to discern the difference. If I say yes and show up only to feel the slightest bit unwelcomed, I instinctively make my way toward the fringe. Have you been there?
There is a distinct difference between being invited and being welcomed. An invitation asks for the presence or participation of someone, but a welcome celebrates the arrival. The invitation makes space while the welcome makes continued conversation.
Have you ever thrown out an obligatory invite without really expecting to execute the plan? Maybe it was a polite insertion into a conversation that was otherwise stagnant. Issuing an empty invitation is very different from hammering out details, preparing a meal, and making space for guests. Being invited is nice at the moment but being welcomed draws you beyond momentary pleasantries while dismantling fear.
Because I speak in unfamiliar spaces, I’m no stranger to the contrast between an invitation and a welcome. Being invited makes room but being welcomed delights in the presence of the guest. I leave some events with more experience and some with new friends.
There is a difference between being invited and being welcomed. Experiencing both helps clarify how I hope to show up for others. I want to welcome people. I want to have eyes that see the lives in front of me and a heart that makes space for belonging. I don’t want to issue invitations as conversation fillers or to puff myself up in pride.
An invitation says come on in. A welcome says I’m glad you’re here. An invitation makes room, while a welcome says you belong. Both are necessary.
Welcoming others is a two-way risk. Insecurity says to protect, but vulnerability says to show up and be seen. In other words, for a true welcome to occur, vulnerability must be present in both the issuer of the invitation and the receiver.
Since rolling the idea of an invitation vs. a welcome in my head, I’ve found myself with fresh awareness. I’m looking inward to examine my motives and responses to invitations. I want to delight in the presence of those invited onto the pages of my story, and whose story I’ve been invited into.
If you’re inclined to frustration over not feeling welcomed, take it on as a personal challenge. Shift from blaming others to assuming a risk-taking adventure. Make it your mission to welcome others. We waste a lot of years expecting others to do their part. Let’s just do ours.
Delight in others.
Experience shared vulnerability.
#momentoftruthmonday #invitedvswelcomed #vulnerability #lifelesson #welcomeothers