Confession: authenticity scares me. But please don’t judge me. Keep reading. It eventually gets better, I promise.
Learning Along the Way
So here’s the deal. Since I started my journey of being intentional about building my friendships and my community, so much good stuff has happened. I’ve reconnected with old friends. I’ve become more aware of potential new friendships, and I’m actually reaching out to make those connections. I’m growing my emotional capacity to be available, to sit and listen and share with a girlfriend.
But the most surprising thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m actually scared of authenticity. That surprises me because I thought I was always ABOUT authenticity. But I’m realizing that I get scared when people bare their souls to me. I don’t know why I get scared. Do I feel responsible to… to FIX things somehow? Or is it that hearing their vulnerability triggers my own vulnerabilities and makes me want to run? I think THAT is what scares me. When someone becomes vulnerable with me, I want to run away because I don’t always want to face my own vulnerability. There’s something about someone trusting me enough to be authentic and vulnerable with you, that makes me feel like I need to do the same. And in those times when I don’t feel ready to be truthful with myself, authenticity is downright scary.
The good thing about recognizing my fear is that it explains why I sometimes put up walls without even realizing it. It explains why some of my friendships have never progressed any deeper than they have. It’s because I ran scared. It wasn’t them. It was me.
The Silver Lining
Now that I know that my own vulnerability scares me, and that it hinders my ability to truly embrace my girlfriends when they are being authentic, I can do something about it. I can choose to embrace my own vulnerability. I’m human after all. I can now choose love and acceptance over fear when my girlfriends bare their highest highs or lowest lows. I can even choose to just SIT with the discomfort of being authentic, to sort of lean into it, as Brené Brown says. At least I think it’s Brené who says it. But I can sit in that uncomfortable, vulnerable, authentic place and not rush to resolve it the discomfort. I can wait on the process to unfold.
So at the end of the day, truly loving myself and truly loving my girlfriends means that I can accept the reality of where we are, yearn to become the better version of ourselves, AND acknowledging that we’re on a path from here to there.
And so my journey continues.
- Do you have any girlfriends who are vulnerable and authentic with you? How does it make you feel? Does it have any impact on your own authenticity with your safe people?
Hit reply and let me know what you’re thinking!