There is this lie I think most of us walk around with when it comes to connecting with other people: We want to connect, but we fail to show the flaws of our story because we believe we will be pegged as too messed up by others.
But today I want to you to question the reality of that.
We all need connection. We all long for our human hearts to be intimately known. Fully connected. So why are we unable? Why do we hold back? Where did we learn to think that certain parts of us are too black to be held by another?
Be it past rejection or unkindness or various wounds we’ve gone through, somewhere along the line we learned “I’m not good enough”. But is that true? Are you too messed up? Is your past too ugly? What’s been done to you too awful? Are you really not good enough for what your heart desires?
But our brains need to rationalize that hurt some how. They need to make sense of what’s happened to us, what’s been done to us, what’s not ideal within us, and what pain we’ve experienced. So they get to work. They smush pieces together to finish this story-puzzle, even if those pieces aren’t at all true. The rationalization is: They rejected me, I must be too flawed/did something unacceptable/have messes that are too big in my life…..Therefore, I must not be worthy of love and belonging.
It “makes sense”. It’s an easy lie to fall into cause it keeps us comfy where we are. It helps us rationalize the brokenness in our story.
“I’m not worthy of love and belonging, no wonder life is awful right now.
I deserve this.
They were going to leave me anyway.
They were going to see I’m too messed up and walk anyway.
I might as well not show people that part of me.”
But that’s a sad reality. Choosing to be only half-known our whole lives simply because we are afraid of rejection.
The truth is we will be rejected. We will be persecuted. We will be flawed people. Bad things will happen to us. But the exhaustion it would take to hold a facade up, a mask, a perfect-life veneer and pretend our way into people’s lives is not only not worth it, it would mean you’ll end up feeling alone and partially known for life. That is sad.
Now that this reality is coming to light in my life, I no longer want to make the “fools choice”.
The fools choice here: Be partially known and accepted. OR Be fully known and rejected.
That is not the real choice we have. We can choose to be fully known AND fully loved.
There is a miracle in connecting with a safe person – really connecting; in bringing your flaws, your struggles, your pain, fear and sadness into the light with another. The miracle is we see those things start to lose their grip on us. We can only heal what we bring into the light. The light of God in prayer, of safe people, of counselors and mentors. Slowly, with the right people, we can reveal our greatest “flaws”/fears/pains and see that they are actually gifts that can lead us into deeper connection if we let them.
When another person has the opportunity and chooses to cover our shame with grace we feel freed. It’s as if we were carrying around all these insanely heavy bags, not letting our friends see them cause we think we should carry them all on our own and then the moment our friend notices them they say “Woah Rachel, here let me take some of that.” Little by little, gracious interaction by gracious interaction, our load begins to lighten and our full selves become seen and known.
Free. Unashamed. Light.
But this is not an easy journey. It takes conquering a lot of fear. It takes being brave. It takes vulnerability. It takes time. We will get hurt again. We will have junk happen to us again. We will make mistakes. We will keep trying to pick up those heavy burdensome bags of shame. But there is hope and there is healing and there is connection to be had.
May we keep choosing to be brave, to walk past the threshold of fear, to find good people we can be candid with. Safe people who care about us. The real us. People who are there for us always as we are there for them. And then courageously keep bringing our dark into the light.
May we be known, accepted, and in that space deeply loved.
Extra Musings and Random Thoughts
I’m a learner and I read a ton. If you like some of the ideas here, I’d highly recommend reading Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” on living wholeheartedly.
The “fools choice” phrasing came from ideas in Crucial Conversations, a book my church had a great message series on this year. The definition of a “Fool’s Choice” is: False dilemmas that suggest we face only two options (both of them bad), when in fact we face several choices—some of them good. We suffer from “Or” Thinking.
I am loving Rising Strong, Brene Brown’s new book. I can’t put it down! And her words and research are just what I need right now. They help untie the scramble in our minds that naturally happens in our “face down” moments in life. Love it! Read it 🙂
The photo here is from a visit to Longwood Gardens this past Friday with two friends. Nature + great girl friends + sunshine = happiness.
Thanks for reading friends!