Quote : The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
Friendships for me are beautiful, engaging, necessary, affirming, consoling, filled with laughter, good times, powerful, supportive, encouraging, motivating, energising, accepting, goofy, connection, companionship yet sometimes painful, high energy, effort, uncomfortable and awkward.
Families, relationships and friendships are absolutely vital for our existence – we were born for connection, those special people who not only share but are also a witness to our lives, brings us purpose, reason and meaning.
However, we are all imperfect people with a myriad of things going on in our lives, at times unseen. Our personal experiences – good or bad, our opinions – justified or not, our perspectives – real or imagined, our expectations – imposed or demanded, the list is endless. Further still, throw in the mix ‘ego’ and inevitably our relationships will experience minor disagreements, full-on-drama fall outs, or both – on numerous occasions!
But what we do next can determine whether our friendships will last or be just a reminiscent memory.
We can choose to ignore it and bury our head in the sand but, if you’re a suppressive – you already know this does not work. You see when we suppress or numb negative emotions such as fear, blame, unworthiness or malice it also suppresses the positive emotions. It is like trying to stop the flow of just cold water out of a mixer tap – impossible. Numb negative emotions, we numb positive ones too and we end up losing our sense of joy, happiness and peace.
Or we can focus on it, but again not the best option as what we focus on grows. Resulting in, for example, deeper anger, resentment or bitterness, stifling the very thing we desire – peace, joy and connection.
In my larger circle of friends, two close girlfriends fell out. I witnessed first-hand the spiral of negativity and potentially a friendship ruined over something that had gotten way out of hand, both dredging up so many incidents to confer with the hurt. Eventually one of the ladies decided although she was still angry, she deeply valued the friendship and wanted to put it right. In order to do that, she chose to let go of her stubbornness to be right, face the issue by genuinely look at it from the other persons perspective and she realised how her actions had caused deep rooted offence. ‘The much needed conversation was approached with a humble, apologetic and ultimately a vulnerable stance.
I was both moved and challenged by her actions.
What emotions or mental images do think about when you hear the word ‘vulnerability?’. Honestly, there are perhaps two people in my life that I should, well need to have a ‘vulnerable’ conversation with – my image is a child cowering!
Because it’s not easy, it’s risky; there are no guarantees that placing ourselves in a vulnerable position will give us the desired outcome. (Thankfully in my girlfriend’s case it did).
Brene Brown Author & Public Speaker describes perfectly the picture of vulnerability – it’s being courageous (from the Latin word Cor – meaning heart) to tell the story honestly of who you are with your whole heart, it’s the courage to be imperfect.
But amazingly vulnerability combined with Grace can be a birthplace of connection, creativity, joy and belonging. Nurturing the realisation that when we have the courage to be imperfect, the courage to be compassionately honest and true to ourselves, we will discover that who we are, and who we were created to be, that you (and me), is enough.
Do the things that make you sparkle!
The video that resonated with my thoughts and inspired my words:
Struck a nerve, want to delve deeper:
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Brené Brown (Gotham, 2012)