Open, honest, scary

This is the sixth day of the Love Blog Challenge,
hosted by the lovely BelleBrita.
Prompt for 2/8: Vulnerability

artur-rutkowski-580597-unsplashI absolutely do not want to talk about vulnerability. You know “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” (I Googled that.) Although being physically vulnerable would be terrifying, the thought of being harmed emotionally keeps me inside with the door locked.

In fact, I so much didn’t want to write about this, I did some research, looking around for some flashy vulnerability inspiration. I tried to find a new, fresh angle.

I don’t think there is one. I think vulnerability is just always hazardous. It may be natural for my extroverted, outgoing, and confident friends to be more open and honest, but it scares the bejeepers out of me.

In a six-year study about personal connections, Brene Brown found that those confident people, the ones “with a strong sense of love and belonging, …were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were.” They don’t have to fake the past or burn their yearbooks to face new friends. They don’t attempt to appear strong and seamless to avoid revealing weakness, rips, or tears.

People who choose vulnerability know and accept they are real, flesh-and-bones, breakable, and flawed humans with bad days and probably some pretty wild stuff simmering just below the surface. But their aim is to be who they are, determined to neither hide nor sensationalize the scruffier sides of their lives.

Good golly, Miss Molly.

The way I see it, there are two sides of vulnerability:

  • The person being vulnerable.
  • The people that see the vulnerability.

And our connections with people is, once again, affected by the balance we maintain as the Be-er and the See-er.

I’m not sure where I sit on the I am vulnerable Likert Scale, choosing an answer between “Always true” and “Never true.” And I would imagine I’m in good company. Being vulnerable is risky and involves a sense of trust and the hope for fair play.

Indeed, especially for those of us who proceed with caution at all times, our answers may change depending on the day, the audience, and the topic.

I know that the only way to “go deep” with someone I care about and want to get to know is to be open and honest and to trust that they will hold what I say with respect and kindness. I am willing to become vulnerable when I have reason to believe the person at the other end of the line or across the table is interested in me and cares about every part, even the darkest and most difficult one.

But I’ve been the Be-er and I’ve been the See-er. And both sides can be uncomfortable and unsettling. Whether you are the one being open or the one hearing the secrets, you are in limbo for that brief span of time it takes for the other person to respond. You have no idea if the relationship will deepen and grow or just crash and burn.

My lovelies, I hope I do well on both sides of that equation. I want to be the girl that shows up with no pretense and no mask, giving others the freedom to do the same. I also want to be the friend that listens with both ears to hard confessions and tricky questions, giving others a sense of peace and a safe place to unload and rest.

 

Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

4 comments

  1. Having vulnerability spelled out like this just increased my awareness 10 fold! An important component in true and honest friendships.
    Michelle DeRusha couldn’t have said it better. I think that’s what she was saying in parts of her book. We need to slow down to allow our vulnerability to surface. It’s the avenue to a true and honest relationship with Jesus, don’t you think?

    Liked by 1 person

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