“We are made to connect with others. It is what gives our lives purpose and meaning, without which there is suffering.” ~Brené Brown
In relationships, I’ve always felt more comfortable being on the sidelines than being in the center of attention. I’m fine with that; it’s my chosen career as a life coach. But for me personally, constantly playing the role of a supporter has created resentment.
I felt invisible and unheard, and many of my relationships began to feel one-sided.
At first, I thought it was someone else’s fault. If they didn’t take up so much space and time, I could have opened up more easily. Over time I realized that this was an excuse. It was an excuse for allowing me to remain silent. Because it was easier to keep quiet than to share something heavy on our hearts.
It was painful to be silent all the time or wondering if I should share. I felt like I had built a brick wall to protect myself, and began to feel that it was impossible for me to share my personal experiences, thoughts, and realizations any further.
I would think what’s the point? Or, “What they’re going through is very difficult.” Or, “Sharing more will only hurt.”
When I felt most alone, I began to wonder what I was protecting myself from. I felt like I was walking around like a knight in steel armor, but no one was shooting arrows. Inside, it felt like a volcano slowly brewing.
I knew where some of these customs originated. I am very sensitive and I feel things deeply so I am guarding my heart. In the past, when I shared information, people didn’t listen because the participants weren’t fully present or didn’t understand where I was coming from.
Also, I like to please people and want others to feel good and happy. It was easy to keep silent.
Part of my healing came from this basic knowledge. This is the unique way I was built, nothing bad or wrong. But I had to deal with an inner storm. It meant having the courage to share, cry and be angry to be seen in front of the people I love and trust.
A friend of mine has consistently modeled what it means to be open-minded by communicating her thoughts, fears, and feelings to me, even if they are vulnerable. Over time, she became someone I felt comfortable testing the waters of sharing my pain.
When I opened up to her and told her that I was struggling to be fully satisfied in my relationships and roles, I felt a great sense of relief. Not only did she accept my chaotic emotions, but I felt safer, more authentic, and more comfortable being me.
Opening up to others is still an exercise for me, but every time I do, they turn out to be more loving and capable than I could have imagined, and by taking a step towards vulnerability , I can see that it leads to the connection I deeply desire.
I’ve come to realize that opening up has less to do with other people accepting or understanding me than it has more to do with accepting the vulnerable parts of yourself.
I know now that I deserve to be listened to and supported, even if it is tiresome and more emotional than logical. It’s about telling and sharing what’s going on in my mind with my partner/friend.
I think most of us avoid opening up at all costs because we fear being judged or rejected.
Any relationship can hurt you. Whether intentional or unconscious, mindful or unguarded, the possibilities are there. The question is whether feeling connected is worth it to you. This is a question that requires discernment.
Not all relationships need to share equally. This is the part you can choose. Who would you like to talk to, who can reserve space for you? As Brené Brown asks, “Who got a seat at your table?”
If, like me, you are prone to being guarded and don’t trust those closest to you, take a moment and acknowledge the parts of yourself that you want to see and hear.
Know that you can’t promise safety and security to others, but you can promise it to yourself. Validating your thoughts and feelings can help you maintain a safe space within yourself, whether or not others understand and support you.
Also, remember that even if the past was painful to share, the future could be different if people didn’t offer you enough attention, empathy, or understanding. , there are a lot of people who care and want to be there. just give them a chance.
Having the courage to be seen in a vulnerable place is not easy. However, it is necessary if you crave connectivity and reliability.