I was talking with a friend the night who had expressed some concern for someone in her life who was going through a rough time but wouldn’t open up, she asked for my advice to try to get through to him. I told her to share her heart and her story with him.
I have always found that when we are open and honest, and yes, vulnerable, with someone it gives them permission to do the same. It was someone doing that with me that gave me the courage to reach out to them for help when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I have always remembered that moment, and how I felt, and have continued to do the same when I come across someone who is too afraid to open up.
When we share our truth, we connect our story to the other person’s, we show them that we are just like they are, that we aren’t going to judge them or lecture them, but we will understand, that we can be trusted because we’ve been where they are, or someplace similar. Who we are and what we’ve been through has a lot of value to someone who is still suffering and feeling lost, our truth can be a beacon of hope to them, to hear where we were and to show them where we are now. That truth might just be the little ray of hope they need, even if it doesn’t shine it’s light for them right away and only plants a seed of hope, that hope has been planted.
For me it actually took months before that hope resonated with me, but that seed was planted the night my friend shared that story, I just didn’t know it yet. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it takes them getting knocked down one more time. Sometimes it’s just about the right moment, when they suddenly find that courage to share their truth with you, as you did with them.
I’ve said this before, each of our stories matter, they all carry weight, and all of them can save lives if we just open up and share them with those who need to hear them. For me, that story did save my life because I knew I could trust that person with my truth, that was the beginning of living in the light for me, of not hiding, of being accountable for my actions, but then I needed to do the work to get better, that story alone wasn’t going to take me to where I needed to go, but it was the key I needed to unlock the door to my survival, and to living a life I could be proud of, without the shame and fear I had let rule my life up until that point.
We all hate to see people we love suffer, but when someone is in that place that last thing they want is to have someone come in and try to fix them, save them, or tell them what to do, when we open up and talk honestly about where we’ve come from, we take the spotlight off of them, and let them observe and listen, and when they don’t feel like they’re being attacked, or your target, they are more open to hearing what you have to say, of connecting to what you have to say, and of relating to what you have to say. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll open up and tell you their story, maybe not in that moment, but one day, when their life may depend on them telling it and they know they can trust you to listen.
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you see how your openness and honesty can help someone else who may be reluctant to open up? Have you experienced an exchange with someone where you’ve opened up and that gave them permission to do so as well? Write about that experience. How did you feel sharing your truth? How did it feel when the other person shared theirs with you? Sharing our truth is a two-way street, it not only helps the other person, it also helps us as well because we connect to another human being, and we may just learn something new about how we feel when we say things out loud. It is never a coincidence when we are drawn to someone, or feel compelled to share, trust that, trust that both of you are meant to be open and honest, and that you both will share in the rewards. SLAY on!
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you