Through many conversations I have learned that being vulnerable with one another and developing friendships that are more than superficial engagements is actually very hard to do. Part of this, I believe, is because it is extremely risky to lay your life bare before another. We are often concerned about what the other person may think, that they may judge us, or that they may think less of us if they knew the "real me". The trouble is that when we aren't transparent with one another, in actual fact, our relationship is shallow and false. Now, that may sound a bit harsh, but I challenge you to hang with me for a moment and look at this idea a bit deeper...
Something that has been on my mind and heart for the past year which I have been working to grow stronger in, is the ability to be vulnerable. (Now, I recognize that this sounds very strange, but hear me out!) Moving around a lot really allows me the perfect opportunity to "hide" and not be transparent or vulnerable with others. I float in and out of lives serving others without a real need for people to know too much about me...Through a lot of self-work over the years I have moved through hurt to recovery, and offered forgiveness and experienced healing. As a result of that I had built myself a really awesome castle with thick stone walls that protected me well from any future harm. I only saw this for what it was this weekend when a speaker at a conference I attended used the beautiful analogy that so well described my life...In the analogy she spoke of how the princess in the castle is protected and safe, and yet is cut off from the villagers below. She may be safe from harm, but she is sitting alone in her tower looking down below at the people of the village who are living in communion with one another...They are more prone to attack and at risk living out in the open together, but they are happy and free living in unity together. (This hit me very hard that I need to break down my walls and get down to the village!)
If you have experienced hurt, abandonment, betrayal, or abuse of any kind in your life, you will understand the natural instinct to "protect" and build walls around your heart and mind so that you do not get hurt again. The struggle with this, is that in so doing, you miss out on the beauty that is relationship! You cannot really have relationship with others when you are hiding your true self and you miss out on experiencing the joy of what it is to be cared for by others...The hardest part about being vulnerable or transparent is that it means you have to be prepared to be hurt or wounded and willing to "risk an attack" as the villagers do...(*Now I make note here, as did our speaker, that this does not apply to un-safe relationships of any kind. What we are talking about here, is friendships with people who are kind people...but the reality is that every relationship will at some point bring some form of hurt to your heart - The point, is that it's worth the risk!)
So, I add this post to get you thinking a little deeper about the idea of friendship, compassion, and unity...Can you really have a relationship with someone if you are not willing to be your true self with them? What do you need to do to move towards vulnerability? What walls do you need to break down?
One of the things that blessed me the most this weekend at the conference I attended was the willingness of so many woman to share their true feelings. In that moment to be vulnerable, and in so doing their transparency became contagious and more and more people started to share from their souls the TRUTH of who they are and what their daily struggles are. The cool thing is that when someone opens up about what they are struggling with, you realize the common ground you share. It's like "ah, someone else feels that way too!!" This moment is very unifying.
"Let my walls crack and crumble, and let my true self be seen" ~ Namaste