If you aren’t having deep conversations, it may be something you said.

Samantha Stevenson Blog, Personal Growth, Spiritual Formation, Team Member Blog Leave a Comment

 

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

“Yeah, I realized I really struggle at [insert hard thing here], but it’s fine.”

“I have no idea what I want to do in life, but I’m working on it.”

On the surface these italicized portions don’t sound damaging. They have their place in light-hearted settings and around acquaintances. But if left unchecked, our words inevitably put a veil between us and the people closest to us. The “bad stuff” gets edited out, and often stays unaddressed even after the conversation ends.

Our words inevitably put a veil between us and the people closest to us.

Where did it start?

We’re no strangers to the concept of editing and filtering. We know that this happens in our digital world– tools like Photoshop have been around for years, singers use computers to create synthetic sounds for their music, and advertisers use only the most enticing images of their products to peak our interests.

We implement the same strategies in our own lives. Crafting the perfect tweet or caption has become a virtual art form, only our life’s highlight reel makes it to Facebook, and we all know we have to take the same photo 14 times to get the right lighting for Instagram…

But the filtering doesn’t stop when we put our phones down.

In our conversations, we seem to have a tendency to edit out the weak, uncertain, and unsure.

In our conversations, we seem to have a tendency to edit out the weak, uncertain, and unsure.

When struggle and the unknown inevitably come to the surface, we compulsively say the first thing that comes to mind that breaks the tension, eliminates the awkward, and shields us from the chance to be seen as a real human person who doesn’t have the answers for everything. In an attempt to keep the conversation upbeat, we compromise the opportunity for deep connection.

It’s no big deal, I can handle my [difficult situation] on my own…”

“I know I stress a lot about [insert stressful thing here], but I’m sure it’ll work out one day…”

What’s the big deal?

These phrases are problematic for a ton of reasons, but here’s 5:

  1. They eliminate the opportunity for connection and authentic conversations
  2. You sound like the solution to your own problems
  3. When you fail, it can only be your fault
  4. When you succeed, it can only be because of your ability/gifts/wisdom
  5. You give off the impression that you don’t have any needs
So, what can we do instead?

Instead of being intimidated by the thought of putting yourself out there, try to think of a time when one of your friends was unexpectedly forthcoming with you. How did it make you feel? How did that change the dynamic of your relationship? Were you both more honest after that?

Dr. Brené Brown, author and researcher, has data that proves that we tend to love when other people are vulnerable, but we despise being vulnerable ourselves. In other words, what feels scary to you may be welcomed by those closest to you.

Brown puts it this way, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.” 

If we never let our guards down to be seen, we can’t be known. And being truly known is always a prerequisite for being loved.

In order to love well and be loved well, we have to be willing to be seen for our true selves.

Love Thy Neighborhood prioritizes investing in other people. We believe that relationships change lives, and we implore our Team Members to invest in their community, their clients at their nonprofit, and in one another. We aren’t vulnerability experts either. We’re just real people who believe in the power of being real with the people around us.

Sometimes being real looks like celebrating, but other times being real looks like confusion and uncertainty. Let’s lean into both with our full hearts. Our hearts and our friends’ hearts will be grateful.

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