My husband was my muse this morning. He has an insight into my heart that is truly inspirational. Over coffee we sat in our kitchen reflecting on my different friendships. Here is the “essence” of what he said.
You build friendships on raw honesty and vulnerability. You connect on a heart level, and in that way you are very different. Not many people put their heart on the table. Men don’t have friends (for the most part) that they can go to and say “how do I sort out this problem or I feel bad about myself,” because in a very simplified manner we just nod our heads to each other and say “what’s up!” Women go deeper, they have better support networks and tend to lead with their hearts. You have to just keep being yourself and understand that people may think you have a hard shell but you are really soft inside. This surprises them because you also react with your heart and are very strong and immediate. Don’t change that, just realize that your honesty and vulnerability will only be reciprocated with the right people.
His words stopped me in my tracks as I sorted this out to get perspective. I’ve always known I’m an emotional and sensitive soul but the fact that I often take my heart out and put it on the table is a dangerous endeavor, especially since there are people in this world that like to step on hearts (and bugs). I think that many conflicts or misunderstandings between women come from this vulnerability being restricted or hidden. That being said, if you are going to be vulnerable you must be honest. It is the only way. Not sharing your feelings in an honest manner just builds and builds walls between you and the women you love. It is my belief that honesty takes courage, lots and lots of courage. You risk rejection, ridicule and hurt, but the friends that are truly worth it will handle you with care. They will love you and show you their hearts too.
In a crowded room, I’m not one for small talk. This tripped me up during my career when I had to work a room. I find it extremely tedious to talk about the weather or ask about what someone does for a living. As a result I am more likely to sit alone during a party or go off to the side. If you see these behaviors she may not be “unfriendly,” she may be a sensitive soul. The sensitive soul reads a book during recess, she looks at her phone in the middle of a party, she sits on a couch where no one else is sitting. The sensitive soul may hide so no one sees her even though the sensitive soul thrives on real connection. The key though is to be sensitive and courageous.
My husband took me to a business event. I saw a man standing alone and he looked lonely and uncomfortable. Another sensitive soul! I’m going to be courageous! I marched right up to him, thrust out my hand and started chatting away. He told me about his family, we spoke about his country and we laughed and connected. When I walked away I was told he was the Ambassador from Chile. If I had known that before hand I probably would never have tried to connect, I may not have been brave.
I may not have been brave….why not? My own insecurities would have blocked my way. Then fear of rejection would have also stood up to stand in front of his friend insecurity. It’s hard to win in a staring contest with these two. These are the “real” obstacles to love, to friendship and to real connection. In the last couple of years I have really focused on being brave and trying to see people for who they really are. It has opened me to new experiences, new friendships and has taught me a lot about myself. I have learned that it is our differences that teach us about ourselves.
In some ways this blog is about being courageous. Will more intelligent people read these posts and instead of seeing “the message,” will they only see grammatical errors? Perhaps! I am making a conscious decision to write anyway and to learn from the mistakes I make. I am trying to be sensitive and courageous.
Be real. Be vulnerable, be honest and loving, and be courageous. Be yourself. It is beautiful.