Yesterday I was asked to join someone whom I had never met on a Facebook live show that they host. I have a close to an inactive page, do not share my personal life, pictures of my family or my day to day endeavors. But I have been active on my volunteer side, where I am co-leading a team of amazing individuals as a branch of UNICEF and my human trafficking outreach. In doing that I have had to share bits of myself and so caught this person’s attention who still thought I might have been interesting enough to be a guest on his show. I arrived with the decision that I was going to be truthful no matter what. I told him that no questions were off limits. Half an hour later we were done.
Like most things I do, I do not expect an audience. Starting this blog, was just a way for me to deal and cleanse myself of the million and one thoughts I have on a regular basis. I do not market myself nor advertise. I share my posts but I write as if no one is reading and if they do, well they probably don’t know me anyway but I do hope that if just one person identifies then that would be more than enough.
It is extremely cathartic..Taking away the audience or having an unknown one, leaves you alone with your thoughts. Alone to face your demons, write what you are actually thinking, what you actually experienced and how you truly feel. Something which I believe social media takes away from us as people tailor their Instagrams, Facebook profiles and even what they tweet about to portray a life they want others to believe they lead.
And so, I bare my soul. Just like yesterday.
Something was different this time. I came home, shared it with a few people but then found myself in regret and started lamenting..Maybe people are sick of hearing my story. No one wants to hear about how I lost my parents or started over for another time. Did I offend someone in there?
Within the last 24 hours, we’ve had almost 650 views. Messages started coming in, thank you for sharing. What you speak of people are dealing with in the closet. My relative also has cancer. You did a good job.
But they were people who haven’t read my blog nor have known me for years, they were mostly people I have only just met or strangers. Until this morning I kept mulling over during my shower, over my cup of tea - all of the positive things I should have spoken about instead.
Some sort of divine force led me to look at Susan David’s TED talk this morning. She spoke about how we are taught to live in denial. Positivity being a forced tyranny.
And so many things were put into perspective.
We grew up under a generation who lived in denial. I can think of many people close to me who have told me to just force myself into thinking a certain way or just stay positive and just don't focus on the negative. This also influenced my own thinking and I have also passed this advice on to others. I can also think of people I know who have been in a situation yet choose to deny their truths for the sake of keeping the peace. (guilty)
The truth has always been uncomfortable. We don’t want to visit the doctor because we are afraid of the results. We prefer to live in ignorance. We look away from the homeless person’s sign in traffic or take a different route when heading into the mall to avoid the Salvation army’s ringing bells. We turn off the TV when that politician is on. We scroll past the tweets about Syria, Rohingya, Sudan but like, retweet and repost the puppies and screenshot and post the ones of the people who slide into our DMs. If someone makes us uncomfortable, we unfollow. Mute. Block. Delete.
We also get defensive. I once got into one of the biggest fights with 2 people I considered best friends for 15 years. A mutual friend sent one of them a message admitting she feels vulnerable and insecure because her boyfriend has been spending an awful lot of time on their social media and was acting secretive. I pointed out that this girl was just looking for some reassurance and I thought that maybe they should have acted with grace and acknowledged that rather than get defensive and send a scathing message in response. Well, they did not appreciate it and the friendship soon deteriorated.
My husband himself admitted that its hard to live your truth because when you start opening up how you truly feel, the recipient usually becomes defensive if it is uncomfortable or less than a desirable topic. And then you yourself start feeling regret because of that vulnerability, of exposing yourself. Some even judge.
Maybe its because most of us don’t like to acknowledge our flaws. Maybe we already feel like failures within ourselves and don’t like to be reminded. But this is certainly because we have been conditioned to highlight the good and overlook the bad. Nothing wrong with sharing our happy times and good experiences but as Susan David said, not wanting to experience any negativity are dead people’s goals.
I challenge you that the next time someone you love or are just acquainted with approaches you to express how they felt after you did something that made them feel upset..or express their own truth, be open rather than allowing ego take the forefront. If you disagree, find out where they are coming from, why they feel that way. Be thankful that they are exposing you to their vulnerability and truth. Sometimes acknowledgment or kindness is all that person is really searching for. They are not labeling you as a person, they are letting you in on how they feel. Maybe how they feel had nothing at all to do with what you said or did.
I have failed this and have come close to failing many, many times. I too get annoyed, judgemental, offended, defensive. Sometimes I even mute people on social media because their success or journey or popularity makes me feel bad about my own failures or destinations I have not yet arrived to. I know its something I have to continue working on within myself.
I am still dealing with events that occurred in my childhood, adolescence, adulthood. Still struggling with loss, guilt, shame, and failure.
But it is not all I am.
I have successes, love, amazing family, education and resources to read as much as I want. I have hobbies and wonderful friends. I’m alive, human and a person of the world. And I refuse to hide any part of it for the fear of being seen as negative. I will be more open and mindful of those around me and be kinder. We all feel vulnerable, cry, get angry, feel loss, shame, and pain. And we feel happiness, pride, and love. This post is just a reminder that its okay to embrace your vulnerability and others.
Its okay to be your authentic self and live your truth.