“If you aren’t willing to be honest and vulnerable with the people that are in your life, then you’re letting fear win, and if you’re letting fear win, than you need to figure out why that fear started in the first place.”
Want to know who said that?
Me, just now.
But all jokes aside, honesty and vulnerability are two traits that I value more than anything.
I very recently had a conversation with a friend of mine. This person hasn’t been in my life long, but they are someone who’s opinion I highly value and respect. The context of the conversation isn’t relevant, and quite frankly, it’s not my place to say what it was about, but there was something they said to me that really hit me. Not in a bad way, but more of a thought-provoking, reality check kind of way. They said something along the lines of, “You have to be willing to have hard conversations sometimes, because it allows you to let go of the past, of what you were feeling. Because once that happens, this imaginary weight will be lifted off of you and you can move on with your life.” Now mind you, that’s not exactly what they said verbatim, but you get the point.
The thing that stops me the most from being truly honest and vulnerable with the people in my life is fear. Fear of judgement, rejection, loss…you name it. If you know me well enough, you know that I have a tendency to avoid conflict; and while this can sometimes be a good thing, in most instances this is a hindrance to any type of relationship that I have. My reasoning for avoiding conflict is due to the fact that I don’t like to be the cause for people’s hurt, nor do I like being hurt. For the longest time, I truly believed that it was better to be closed off and not let people in, because that way they couldn’t hurt me. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. You know, it’s okay to be scared, but you have to put yourself out there at some point. You have to make new friends and allow yourself to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to love and make mistakes; to learn and become a stronger version of yourself and start all over again.
Here’s the thing.
The time in our lives is wasted when we find ourselves in a position when we know we need to take a leap and go for something…to say something, but we turn around instead. It’s wasted when we anxiously hit backspace while typing a message to someone or constantly avoid a question because we’re too afraid of expressing how we truly feel. Time is lost in the what ifs of our lives, of the could’ve, should’ve, would’ve moments. It’s true when they say that time can pass by fast, but it’s important to note that time isn’t necessarily wasted in the passing minutes, hours, days, months, and years. It’s wasted when we count the seconds and let those seconds pass by when we could have made them count.
You can never be happy if you’re always afraid to let go of what’s comfortable and familiar in nature. Sometimes, the comfortable habits we keep, those are the things that will hurt us the most in the end. Learn to be honest all the time. Learn to say what you mean, but don’t say it mean. And if you can’t be real or honest with the people in your life, think about what it is in your life that you need to work on and why you feel that you can’t be real or honest. If I’ve learned anything over these past few months, it’s that I’d rather speak up and tell someone what’s on my mind or how I feel than let the non-spoken words and feelings consume my life. And often times, it was a previous encounter that occurred in my life that forced me to stay quiet, because I was afraid that I was going to be a continuous cycle of hurt. But honesty in the past few months has been a blessing. For the longest time, I’ve been in this state of letting few people in, and only when I thought it was convenient for me. The last few months has brought new people in my life, people who have showed me that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to be intentionally authentic with the people in my life.
John Lennon once said, “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it’ll always get you the right ones.” To me, this statement couldn’t be truer. It’s in the moments when I allowed myself to be honest, to be transparent with the people around me, that I gained true friendships, ones that look at me…the ones who see my authenticity, see all my flaw and imperfections, and stay anyways. They continue to encourage me, to speak life into me because of the willingness I had to be vulnerable and honest with them and allow them to do the same in return.
I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it: Don’t let your fears get in the way from living life. Living a life being constantly afraid to tell people how you’re feeling will never get you anywhere. Have those hard conversations. Be bold and say what you need to say. At the end of the day, we’re all human, and we have to realize that it’s only when we allow ourselves to become real and honest that other people will follow suit. Be intentional with the people in your life. Be honest. Be real.
And if things in life don’t go the way you want them to, shake off the past and try again, because I promise you this, better things are yet to come. And the way I see it? It’s better to live an honest life than to live one full of regret and things left unsaid.