I found this note on my iPhone recently. It’s from May 21, 2021 at 7:20 p.m.:
I bring out in people things they are scared to share but they want to share. We build this wall about who we are, and we want people to come over that wall because we want people to be open and vulnerable, but we want people to show us that wall never actually existed. And there is nothing more beautiful than having the courage to share with other people what you have always been scared to share.
I have no idea what I was thinking at the time, but this statement (verbose, and even nonsensical in some parts as it is) resonates with me quite a bit today.
I’m a good listener. I don’t share much about myself – it’s a characteristic that began as fear of judgment but has since evolved into the profound knowledge that less is more. I have naturally loved listening more than sharing, but my listening skills deepened through my journalism and then legal and coaching training as I learned to pay close attention to the words and body language of my sources and then of clients.
It’s very true that we all build up a wall of who we are – we create an image, a persona. Just look at how most people use social media, showing all the happy, high points – often fabricated ones – for likes and attention. But in reality, we yearn for connection, to be seen, to be witnessed. That’s why finding a true connection with friends and partners is so challenging. It’s difficult to be real because we fear being judge, fear losing the connection and being alone. But being alone is not so bad, particularly if you are living more true to yourself than you would with another person. And someone who judges you is likely not the right person for you.
This idea of connection and how to create it is one that deserves further exploration. My favorite way is through stories, both by hearing others’ and sharing my own. It’s through stories that we learn about new ways of being while also seeing how similar we all can be. But that’s an exploration for another time.
For now, I’m focused on that sentiment of the beauty of sharing truth and the connection that doing so brings.