THIS PAST YEAR I LEARNED THE RELIEF THAT COMES WITH GETTING VULNERABLE.
Of saying that thing that feels like its going to make you throw up on the way out or that is stuck right in the center of your chest.
Sometimes for years.
I am no master at vulnerability, but there are 3 specific conversations I had in a matter of two months that changed the way I live (and love) moving forward:
MY BEST FRIEND DIDN’T FEEL SO “BEST” ANY MORE
For months I felt guilty that our relationship wasn’t working for me anymore.
We barely talked, and when we did I just didn’t feel connected. I found myself not really wanting to hang out, but also not really wanting to make an effort.
Other friends told me, “That’s just what happens, you’ve been friends for like 15 years, you just change and grew apart, its okay, just let it be.”
But I couldn’t get it out of my head.
Finally, I wrote an email.
I explained how I felt in as much detail as possible, because the point (I’ve learned) is to make sure you don’t leave things unsaid.
As soon as I hit send, the grip on me released and I felt relieved.
MY MESSAGE WAS RECEIVED WITH LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING, AND AGREEMENT.
We weren’t getting vulnerable for fear of upsetting each other, but now the pressure was released for both of us.
We have room to just let it be what it is, instead of harboring a feeling of resentment because we don’t feel heard.
I wish that friends had these vulnerable conversations more often.
Without that conversation, I would still be walking around with guilt, and feel like a part of my life was incomplete. I would also have no space for more complete friendships to enter my life.
MY JOB FELT HEAVY AND UNCOMFORTABLE
Internally I felt overwhelmed and uncomfortable, which sometimes turned into resentment (and I felt even more shitty for having that feeling knowing how blessed I was to have the kind of position and freedoms I do).
BUT, I HIT A WALL AND BROKE DOWN.
Once I gathered myself, the first level of my vulnerable “reveal” came out in an email to my boss about what I felt like was holding me back.
I only felt partially relieved.
A week later when we caught up in person she looked at me and said, “I still feel like somethings not right – we need to figure this out for you.”
Three hours later, we had a new plan for my role and both felt excited again.
Turns out (surprise!) my boss was feeling the same way but couldn’t quite figure out what was going on either.
Getting vulnerable gave us both space to figure it out.
Without that conversation, I I would not be here taking on new clients or be able to work completely remote and from anywhere I want, which just two years ago was a dream.
ANOTHER CRUCIAL FRIENDSHIP WAS AWKWARD AND UNCOMFORTABLE.
This person played a very important role in my life for multiple reasons but our relationship was always sort of “awkward”.
We let each other in (in a way that most people don’t) but we also triggered the shit out of each other.
A few years ago, when we were at our closest, I think I almost always had some version of resting bitch face on, even though inside I wanted to feel connection more than anything.
And then at the beginning of last year, it was as if my heart broke open.
I was going through a breakup and I felt like I became more loving in the process of loving myself.
IT WAS DURING THAT TIME I REALIZED I LOVED MY FRIEND AND I JUST DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO RECIPROCATE.
It took me months because I was waiting for the “right” moment, but I told him in the middle of an argument about our relationship.
It went something like:
“Listen, I realized that I loved you back then and I just didn’t fucking understand it. I was dealing with my own stuff and you deserve to know this now because I couldn’t say it before. You are like family and I hope that will never change”
As soon as I hit send, I was relieved. The relationship no longer felt heavy or obligatory to me.
Now it feels safe. I am excited to interact where as before I was always a bit guarded and skeptical.
Without that conversation, I would be denying myself one of my most powerful outlets of support.
I have one more big conversation left, but it won’t be the last in this lifetime.
I learned that when you get vulnerable you know the real FEELING of relief, fun, and the powerful connections. Having conversations like this becomes a little bit of an addiction.
AND YOU REALIZE THAT BEING YOURSELF WAS REALLY THE “CURE” ALL ALONG.
What about you? Are there any conversations you’ve been holding in? Or have you experienced the feeling of relief through having your own conversations? Let us know in the comments below, I’d love to hear!