Updated: May 22, 2020
I used to believe, like a lot of us, that the vulnerability involved in sharing my problems, pain, and inner struggle with other people was a sign of weakness. Probably because I’ve always kind of been the one everyone came to for a listening ear, advice and guidance (no mystery how I ended up a counselor). For some reason I concluded from this that I wasn’t allowed to struggle myself and that I certainly couldn’t admit it to anyone.
So I bore it alone much of the time, and I was pretty good at leading everyone to believe that I didn’t need anyone’s support because I had it all figured out. Problem was that by the time I was about 28 the pain that I was carrying around was intensifying and leading me down into a deep spiral of depression that I couldn’t hide anymore. My hair was falling out, I couldn’t sleep, I looked sick and I couldn’t get through a day without crying, even at work.
When I started finally telling the truth to people around me it was such a relief not to have to hold up that image of myself anymore. It was an image that only served to keep me separated from experiencing connection with those around me. Letting the facade down and sharing brought people closer to me and it gave me the support I so desperately needed. That and therapy got me a long way. Fast-forward about fifteen years and I’ve managed to find myself among a community of women who love and support one another in deep ways. I’ve gotten over my need to seem well put together and I can openly talk about my inner struggles.
How has deciding to open myself to others served me? Well, it gives me what my heart has always really desired which is connection, support, encouragement, and love. Too many of us go it alone in my opinion. Being a woman, I see a lot of women struggling with similar issues without a place to come together and share and learn from each other.
Someone has gone through or is going through what you are. Someone has the level of presence to be there for you while you cry your eyes out and reveal your heart. Someone will remind you of who you are even if you’ve forgotten for the moment. To experience this level of communion, you’ll have to risk the vulnerability of being totally seen, but it so worth what you will receive in return.
Try sharing yourself with someone today without hiding. If it feels good and your heart is a little lighter and more open, remember how good that feeling is to experience. Keep sharing your heart and being a space for others to share theirs and you’ll increase the expression of love for everyone. No one can deny we need more of that with the state of our world today.