“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be. Embrace who you are.”
Let’s face it, we all have issues. From insecurities to anxiety, emotional instability to emptiness, we are all on the same boat, dealing with the same struggles. And that’s ok.
That’s exactly what makes us human: caring, compassionate and, most importantly, courageous in our imperfections.
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting and connecting with a group of wonderful people, who weren’t afraid to open their hearts and minds to a complete stranger.
I felt humbled and honoured to be there with them and for them. I listened to their stories, trying to open my heart and mind in return, in an act of pure, wholehearted presence. And trust me when I say it’s easier said than done.
I invite you to notice how often our interactions with people focus on giving and receiving – in the best case scenario – appraisal and advice. Deep down, we might want the best for them, we just don’t know how to express it.
We minimize the threat of self-disclosure, a building block of true intimacy, in the fear of being unaccepted, unveiling our vulnerabilities. This is because our own self-esteem and self-worth is constituted through judgments and social comparisons.
We focus on self-protection, on measuring ourselves and others against some arbitrary standards, rather than simply noticing the others for who they really are and what they need: a moment of unity and understanding.
What I’ve learned through that enlightening experience is that sometimes it’s enough to simply listen, offer the time and space necessary for someone to share her thoughts and feelings. Personally, I found it surprisingly challenging to just sit there and wait, rather than dispense unsolicited advice and over-share at every turn.
However, when I manage to be there for the other person – stay present and truly hear – well, that’s where the magic happens.