How do you break down those inner walls and truly share yourself with others? Analise has some ideas which she shares with us in the latest post in our Strength Through Vulnerability series.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Ernest Hemingway
In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of being vulnerable with your loved ones and friends and my realisation that being authentic in our relationships allows us to connect on a deeper, empathetic level.
I will be honest - I have absolutely no idea how I accumulated the fantastic people who are in my life. There is a saying that if you can count the number of people you are close to on one hand you are blessed. Well, I’m counting using both hands and my toes!!
I will say that I’m not very outgoing, in fact I’ve been told I am unapproachable at times. I suppose the friends in my life are the people who probably picked up on my positive vibes and weeded through the walls to get to the yummy gooey goodness in my centre.
When I made that life-changing decision to share my authentic self with my close friends, I was in beads of perspiration. It was a nerve-wrecking task of what I should say to whom - how should I phrase this struggle? With each new person I had to think what was the best way to introduce my tribulations, my insecurities, my heartbreak, my confusion. Would they even understand?
I asked myself, what was I really afraid of? That answer was easy. I was afraid of being misunderstood or having my feelings dismissed, of being judged, of no longer being loved or respected by those closest to me.
There are certain actions I take or techniques I use before sharing deeply with anyone:
- I have to truly believe (and I mean TRULY BELIEVE in the depths of my soul) that the person cared about my physical, mental and emotional well-being.
- I phased information in bits and pieces and observed how they would respond. More importantly if their behavior changed after I revealed a bit of my insecurities/vulnerabilities to them. It didn’t even have to be the secret I needed to reveal but some other story which may be uncomfortable or squeamish.
- I knew that for most, they might not be able to empathise, but it was a risk I would have to take.
- I wouldn’t share a shameful story unless I had come to a deep level of acceptance that it occurred. In my case I don’t necessarily need to resolve the problem before sharing. I just needed to own the story.
I don’t know if you should share your deepest darkest secrets with anyone. I can’t give you a road map on how to determine who is trustworthy or not. We have all been there. We have misplaced our trust and have been burned in the 3rd degree. But I will say this, in my case honesty has set me free and it allowed for a more open communication with the people in my life.