I’m tired of learning too late! I have been to more funerals than I can count and have been astonished at what I’ve learned about people – even those very close to me. Every funeral I attend reveals information I would have loved to known while the person was alive.
Today I learned a lot about a very good friend of mine. I learned a lot about her life, how she feels about herself and her determination to make a difference in the world. I knew she was driven to change her life, I knew a little about her background too but none of the detail that makes it so raw, so connectable. These revelations never made it into any conversations we have had. Fortunately, I learned this while she is still alive; I read it in a book that she contributed to – called Dance in the Fire of Life. After I read her chapter, I wondered why we have never had those conversations in person?
In the hustle of our busy lives, we don’t make enough time for the really meaningful conversations. Maybe she didn’t feel safe talking to me about her past, maybe she thought I wouldn’t be interested. Having said that, it’s also a scary proposition publishing work about yourself and putting something out there in the world that can never be taken back. I know, because I have done that too.
Vulnerability takes strength and courage; the world would be a kinder, gentler place if we felt safe enough to drop our armour and show our true selves, to reveal our hearts, scars and all. Perhaps we don’t feel safe talking directly to people about our challenges, but we feel more able to write about them. Which is a conundrum in itself – writing and publishing about oneself, means it’s out there in some form forever, available to anyone who wants it, we’re not even making a choice about who we’re telling, yet we won’t talk to our friends about ourselves! Of course, the other side of that is that perhaps we don’t really know as much about ourselves as we think we do, but it comes to us through writing!
Much of what I have written about myself in From Grief to Gratitude, I had not shared in person with others until I started my workshops. So I was no different, I hadn’t offered up a lot of detail about myself, but perhaps it was because I hadn’t really understood myself either. Now I freely share information about myself in those workshops and my hope is that others will feel safe to share about themselves as well. It’s not only in the sharing that we heal, it’s in the process of discovering ourselves. For this to happen we need to make the time to become invested in discovering ourselves; understanding the way we behave and the “why” behind what we say and do. It takes courage to face the uncomfortable areas of our lives. Once we understand ourselves better, we learn to love ourselves and we drop the fear of worrying about what others will think of us.
I want to know more about the people I think I” know”. I want to know more about what drives them, what passions they have while they’re still here with us, I don’t want to wait for their funerals to find out. I want to celebrate their wins while they’re here, I want them to know I want them to win, I want them to know that it’s okay that they don’t always win too! I want the connections in my life to be real, not perfect.