“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experience.” — Brené Brown
I was listening to a speaker tonight and I heard the phrase radical transparency. I had never heard that phrase before. For some reason it resonates with who I am as a person. This radical thing called life is hard at times. Lately the hard times have outweighed the good times. I am sure many of you feel the same way I do. We are all reeling from life changing drastically in the past 12 months. Dealing with illness, changes in employment and schooling, and isolation to name a few. Isolation for me, has sometimes been a challenge for my mental health. I have come to realize that too much isolation is not good for me. As an introvert, I usually enjoy my time alone. I am able to recharge and I am ready to face interacting with other people. What I have found, if I spend too much time alone or apart from friends and family, I get too in my head. I do too much thinking and ok, too much worrying. I have a couple family members that deal with anxiety. At times, their anxiety issues are quite debilitating. I sometimes wonder if I will have to deal with that issue as well. Long ago I learned and memorized Philippians 4:6,7 to help me cope and be able to overcome anxious moments when they start to stir in my spirit.
Philippians 4:6,7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
One thing I have learned is that shame and disappointments have a way of keeping us from being authentic and real with other people. We are afraid to admit that our lives are not perfect. All you have to do a scroll through Facebook for a moment to see that everyone else’s life is perfect. That leaves us asking ourselves, what’s wrong with me? Why is my life such a mess? Ok, so that is not true but that is the perception that Facebook leaves us with. A dear friend, and her family moved to Switzerland almost three years ago. The beauty of Switzerland is breathtaking. All you have to do is look at their Facebook posts to get caught up in the amazing beauty and adventures they are having as a family. From skiing in the Alps to hiking in the most beautiful forests and mountains. Life seems picture perfect and idyllic. I will never forget some very wise words that her husband said to me when I commented on the amazing adventures they are having as a family. He said, remember that isn’t real, you didn’t get to see the moments before the pictures were taken or afterward when their was fighting or tension. That was such a good reminder that our nature is hide the bad and flaunt the good. To me that’s what social media has accomplished. It makes individuals question their existence and quality of life and compare it to others.
Back to this idea of radical transparency. What impact would we have on our community or sphere of influence if we were actually honest about our life and current feelings? If we were willing to take that risk, what would people think of us? Would that make us less worthy in the eyes of our friends? In my experience, when I am willing to be radically transparent, I have found acceptance and people willing to be more honest and vulnerable with me. It is in those moments that authenticity happens between people and barriers are broken down.
We as humans were made to be in relationship with others. We need that connection. For me, part of that connection is being willing to be radically transparent and willing to share the good along with the bad. In my experience when I have shared the tough stuff of life, it is in those moments that forges a bond between people. Of course with anything, there is a cautionary note and that is, be careful who you choose to be radically transparent or vulnerable with. They need to be worthy of your honesty and trustworthy individuals.
Here’s a challenge, be willing to be yourself and share your triumphs as well as your tragedies. Often in those moments of being honest about the difficulties you are facing is when someone else will gain insight and wisdom into their own life. Be bold and be your authentic self. That’s true beauty in my opinion. Go ahead and be radically transparent! You just might find a freedom to life that you haven’t experienced before.
This is me being radically transparent sharing the stories of my life with you.
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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
― Frederick Douglass
The joy is in the journey!
Blessings and Peace,