Human Connection - Have The Courage To Be Vulnerable
Updated: Jun 18, 2022
Sharing what we really think can make us feel better.
Let me explain…
Today I woke up with a strange feeling. A feeling of deeper longing. However, I couldn’t really pin it down. It was somehow a combination of being unsatisfied with a desire to have a bigger purpose in life.
I decided to go on a walk and wandered through the old town of San Cristóbal deep in the Mexican mountains... I tried to think about my emotion, and to somehow find a solution rationally.
I went out with the intention to get this “aha-moment” where I suddenly have a thought that frees me of my problem. I thought by thinking enough I can reach that moment.
I tried to think in different directions, considering different point of views and remembering things people told me in the past. I was writing stuff down, thinking, exerting my mind to find a solution. A solution to somehow overcome my problem. Well… Unsuccessfully…
What I didn’t realized at the time was that I tried to solve a problem by the same means it was created – Thinking. It was like trying to put off fire by adding more fire.
I sat at the street for a good hour. Suddenly a friend of mine passed by. She said hello with a big hearty smile, and we started talking a little...
I invited her to sit down with me for a bit and we continued talking, mostly about random stuff though.
She sensed that something was going on and she asked me about it. First, I was a bit hesitant but eventually I told her how I really felt.
I didn’t pretend anymore to be in a good mood and that everything was fine. No, I told her that something was bothering me, but I didn’t know exactly what it was and that I felt a bit off. I just told her the truth, exactly how I felt.
Well, that was the solution to my problem.
She didn’t come up with any new insight or any new idea that I was so desperately looking for. No new understanding to get over my problem. No new thoughts that would somehow satisfy my mind. She just listened to what I was saying, and I felt heard and understood. That was all. As simple as that.
Just sharing how I felt made me feel so much better.
When something is bothering us, our mind can go crazy sometimes. It can make up images and scenarios of all different sorts that most likely will never become reality.
That can cause lots of stress and might even keep us up at night. However, what helps a lot is sharing our thoughts. Exactly how they are in our head. Without any filter.
By doing that we are not alone with them anymore. We put them out there.
This means exposing ourselves to other people how we are in that moment.
We tell them what’s going on in our mind. By doing that we accept ourselves, because we allow ourselves to be us. We allow ourselves to share our insights with others.
We are brave enough to show yourself. We take the risk of getting rejected or being not accepted with our thoughts and emotions...
Exposing ourselves, making ourselves vulnerable in front of other people, requires courage...
Be like a crab - Lose your shell
Marc who I met in San Cristóbal told me in one of our many conversations a metaphor that has stuck with me. He said that making ourselves vulnerable can be compared to a crab growing out of its old shell...
He explained that if we stayed our whole lives in our comfort zones it would be like a crab always keeping its same shell.
We never expose too much of ourselves, it is always relatively safe, but we never really grow. However, the more time passes, the more the shell will feel constricting and more and more uncomfortable. Eventually, the pain might be that excruciating that we can’t bear it any longer.
This might show in different forms - physically, or through mental illnesses like burnout or depression. Or we might "just" feel a little off, like me the other day when I couldn’t really find a specific reason.
To avoid this, we need to let go of the shell. As I said, doing that requires courage, because we don’t have any protection anymore. When the crab loses its shell, it is completely exposed and vulnerable...
However, exactly this vulnerability is the basic prerequisite for real human connection – which is in return one major key for happiness.
Only if we expose ourselves to others, we can create meaningful connection.
Only if we don’t hide ourselves, we can make honest and deep experiences.
Only if we’re open and humble, people can relate to us.
We might encounter people not really listening to us. We might not feel understood. But then these might be not the right people to stay around in the long run...
In this case it takes even more courage to try again and again, until we find the right people. But believe me, eventually it will happen and it will be worth it.
So, if we’re somehow worried or if something is bothering our minds, let's go out there and let's share it with people!
It is nice to share it with someone you know but also making ourselves vulnerable to new people can create beautiful new connections.
It might be a bit scary, but eventually we'll grow, and we'll grow a stronger and bigger shell after every time we did it.
And when we are growing we feel alive - like a plant that keeps also growing its whole life.
Likewise we should listen carefully to people if they share things with us honestly.
It is a great honor if people tell us how they feel and what’s really going on in their life.
By reading this you just did exactly this. So, thank you for that and have a wonderful day!
San Cristóbal, Mexico, February 2022
Where I take my inspiration...
If you want to dive deeper in the topic of vulnerability, I can totally recommend this Ted-Talk of Brené Brown. She also wrote a great book about it. You can listen to it as an audio book for free if you sign-up as a new customer at audible.
(These are affiliate links which means: If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.)
"We have to love ourselves in order to love others." Self-love is crucial for making connections. In this article I write how we love ourselves by simply expressing who we truly are.
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