Does this scene sound familiar?
You are at a social gathering. You are having a nice conversation with someone you know reasonably well. You have had a tough week and as much as you would like to keep up appearances, you can’t help but share what is really going on with you.
So you dive in. You say something about struggles with your kids, the fight you had with your husband or that your family thinks you have a drinking problem.
And then it happens. That awkward silence combined with “the look”. You know, the one that makes it clear that the person you are talking to is not comfortable with your all too real comments.
Then, one of two things happens. You either keep talking, super fast or your companion abruptly changes the subject. Either way, the conversation ends prematurely and you can’t get away from each other fast enough.
You make a beeline for the bathroom because you feel like you are going to be sick. And then you start in on yourself: “Why did I do that?” “What was I thinking?” “How could I be so stupid?” “How could I possibly think it was ok to bring that up?”
You feel vulnerable and exposed.
And depending upon your relationship with yourself, the yucky feeling and the berating can go on for hours or days.
But the outcome is the same. You get back to the place where you are convinced that it isn’t safe to be the real you. That you live in a buttoned up place where being real is against the rules. You can’t be honest about your life because people just don’t want to hear it. You promise yourself that you won’t ever do it again.
Then you go back to feeling like a fake and keeping the real stuff hidden. Ugh.
I’m here to tell you that there can be a much different ending to this story. One where the other person completely supports what you have shared and proceeds to tell you some of the things that she is struggling with. You bond. You see each other with new eyes. A true friendship is born.
I am not going to say that you will never have one of those horribly awkward situations again. What I am saying is that when weighed against the alternative, they are worth it.
Here is the thing–
1) When you end up in another awkward moment situation, you were NEVER going to be truly close to that person anyway.
2) The more comfortable you get sharing your true self, the more you will realize that when people react that way, it has nothing to do with you. While it may feel like judgement (and it is judgement if you judge yourself for it) what really happened is that person told you something about themselves. They made it clear that they are unable or unwilling to show their true colors. And in that case–refer to back to #1. You were NEVER going to be truly close that person anyway!
So the reason that is it CRUCIAL that we continue to share, be ourselves and risk awkward moments, is for the payoff of the magical moments. For the times when we do meet a kindred spirit. When we connect and know that we are going to share a special relationship with someone who gets us. Because having those in our lives is priceless.
So please don’t stop being yourself. Please don’t be afraid to share. If it is TMI for someone else, that is not about you. What you say is about you, what they say or do is about them. Keep looking for the friends you can be real and honest with.
The more authentic you are the better. You will attract the people who are like you and the others will cease to matter.
The freedom to be yourself all the time cannot be underrated. It is a huge part of you feeling good about yourself.
It’s a holiday weekend. A great time to practice this. Be daring. Be yourself. You never know when you are going to meet that friend who will see you for who you really are and who you will enjoy cocktails with when you are ninety.
And remember, you can always share with me.
P.S. If you long to be the authentic you and just don’t know how, please hit contact in the upper right hand corner of this page to set up a complimentary Discovery Call with me. We can put together a plan to get you back on track.
In order to change your life, you must first change your mind