I guess I had more to say, then I thought. More than 5 days worth, it seems.
It's another double post!
Real or Bust, Embrace Vulnerability
This is the one that would be classified as the hardest thing for me. I'm a pretty real person but when it comes to true vulnerability, it's something I continue to work on. I think I'm getting better though. How vulnerable you are with people boils down to this: self esteem. If you have never really had a "safe" person to freely talk with on your good, bad or ugly days, this one can take some real work. If you've come from a family who was uncomfortable or unhealthy with display of emotions, this one can seem really daunting. But let me tell you, IT'S WORTH IT!
I'm a crier. I cry. It's really not a bad thing. I just feel deeply. Which means I cry when I'm happy, I cry when I'm sad, I cry when I'm hurt, I cry when I'm mad. Sounds precious put in a rhymie way like that but to most people, when they see the waterworks, they either try to fix or flee! And that's been a hard thing for me. Accepting that, at the worst, if I am real (with my tears) someone might just try to tell me "oh, you are just emotional because you are hormonal" or just quit responding and grow silent and perhaps not talk to me for a while. It can be awkward so usually I just don't let that part of myself show. People show vulnerability in different ways, some are easier to handle than others.
lots of talking, life story telling, detail giving, emotion showing (that's the hardest one, I think), advice asking... If you are afraid of vulnerability, don't be. Easier said than done, I know, for real. There are few people that I feel comfy letting it all hang out with, the good and the bad. The great, lasting, amazing friendships I have are mutally vulnerable ones. It took time. So don't go rushing into asking your new pal "what was the worst childhood experience you ever had" or making them a list of 50 things you love about them when you've known them for a few weeks. That can be a bit overwhelming for most. Ususally, it takes you being the person to show vulnerability first. If we are all a little less afraid and being real with who we are, then what a genuine world this could be!
An easy, eh sort of not really, way to get vulnerable is this:
Don't be afraid to ask the important questions
And don't be scared of hearing the real answers. A lot is to be said for those people in your life who are reflecting and thinking enough about your life to ask questions. Good questions show that you are being thought of. Who doesn't like to know that they have been in someone's thoughts?
And following up, that's like a bonus deal. Having told someone something once then them asking you about it days, weeks etc. later shows a great deal of consideration. It shows an other's centered mindset which is extremely Christlike and comforting. Those friends that I have that care enough to ask the questions like "how is your walk with Christ?", "How are you doing with that personal struggle you shared with me last week?" are the ones I know aren't trapped in the bubble of self-centeredness. They care and that is one of many ways to show it. If you are the friend asking these questions and the other friend says", I 'd rather not talk about it" or maybe they don't open up as much as you thought they would, don't take it personally. Sometimes, no matter how real you are, some people just aren't there yet. If that's the case, keep being consistent.
Remember? That counts for a lot!
And if you feel that you are the one who is doing much of the initiating, maybe back off for a time and give them space. I don't recall every being offended at someone following up with me about something or asking a deeper question. If anything, it showed me that I was important to them. And that always feels good.
Ah, relationships. Friendships. There is a lot to be said on how to make them work and how to be "good" at it. It's different for everyone and there is no set method of how to do it. Just be yourself. Be real. Invest, be consistent and
Love others as you love yourself..