Today I am grateful for the ability to be vulnerable. It sounds like a really strange and random thing to be grateful for, I know. However, embracing my vulnerability today brought me peace and happiness about something I was stressing about.
In my last post I wrote about the conflicting feelings I had toward expressing my feelings about the importance of a new friendship. Truthfully, I don’t often feel a meaningful connection to people; instead, I remain on the fridges of “aquaintancehood.” Only twice in the past few years have I encountered a person with whom I instantly connected with and felt a strong desire to tell them how important their friendship means to me. Of those two people, only one remains a close and important friend. Although both of these relationships were immediately strengthened because of my willingness to share my thoughts, one of these people eventually pushed me away. Losing a close friend in the midst of vulnerability was painful and difficult to recover from. But by doing it again – expressing my feelings from a place of vulnerability – I have developed a strong, reciprocal, and enduring friendship with a friend I dearly care for.
The past few months has seen me connect, yet again, with someone in a way I was not expecting. Her positivity and happiness were an inspiration to me during a dark and difficult time in my life. For some reason, she “stuck” to me and with me and our friendship flourished despite my personal struggles. For the third time, I wanted to reach out and tell her how much her friendship means, but I was afraid – like I was before – that I would be shamed or rejected. I was torn and indecisive, believing that not saying something would mean that things would stay the same. But I also knew that the outcome could be the opposite and only lead to a better and stronger friendship.
It might seem like a silly and insignificant reason to get stressed out and anxious about. After all, aren’t relationships supposed to just “work?” I tend to not really believe that. Relationships are difficult and require effort, and the more you put in, the more you get out. Similarity, putting in feeling, emotion, gratitude, and appreciation means you get is all back in abundance. These are the building blocks of connection.
This morning I was still uncertain if I wanted to act on my impulse. I knew I was seeing my friend today and would have the perfect opportunity to share my thoughts with her. Before seeing her, though, I had an important meeting about something completely unrelated but equally difficult for me. At that meeting, the woman I met with asked me if I had ever heard of Brené Brown because what I was doing (the subject of discussion in our meeting) was exactly what Brené Brown talks about in her Books: I’m right there, in the arena fighting for authenticity and bravery despite the critics surrounding me. I was caught off guard by her comment because this woman knows nothing about me, yet she characterized me as being exactly the person I have been trying to be for many years. In that moment I realized that if this person who knows very little about me can see my courage and authenticity, then I needed to share my thoughts with my friend – despite it meaning I would be vulnerable again.
So, that’s exactly what I did. I am much better at writing than face to face talks about this stuff, so I took the time to put my words on paper. I left a grateful thank-you card with my letter inside for my friend to received after our little get together and I calmly let it go. Later in the day she came back to me with gratitude and I instantly felt that my vulnerability, once again, was rewarded. Nothing has changed except that I feel better about knowing I’ve been honest and authentic with my friend about how much her presence in my life has meant to me.
I am once again grateful that I allowed twelfths the space and the support to be vulnerable and build meaningful connection.