Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Steps to Connection: Vulnerability

In "The Emperor's New Clothes" no one can see the Emperor's new suit, but all are too afraid to admit it. What if someone finds them stupid or unfit for their office? So they go on, hiding their real thoughts, maintaining the facade, simply because they fear the opinions of others.

Until one little boy (is he too young and innocent to understand the risk involved?) states the obvious. Once the truth is out in the open, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and reveals their own inability to see the clothing.

It's a good lesson in connection.

We suspect we may be inadequate and worry what others may think if they knew the truth. So we maintain a facade to be acceptable, while inside we are struggling much like the person next to us.

But what would happen if we took a risk, like the little boy in "The Emperor's new Clothes?" What if we stated the obvious--we're ALL insecure? What if we revealed to others our weaknesses and inadequacies? Would they find comfort in knowing they were not alone? Would they be drawn to our honesty? Would we be a breath of fresh air to those around us?


I've seen it happen over and over again. I've watched countless times in Bible study as someone admits their inability to understand or tells of a struggle or fear. Others in the room nod. They smile. They breathe a sigh of relief and enter into discussion. And everyone in the room shares a common bond. We are connected because we know we are not alone. It does not matter if we share the same fear or struggle. Knowing makes us empathetic, helps us realize we are all human and puts us on the same team.

Developing relationships requires vulnerability. It's not easy, but always worth it. People find camaraderie with those who are willing to open up. It's not enough to take a risk and invite someone to coffee. We need to go a step further and give up something of ourselves. When we are vulnerable, we put others at ease, making them feel they can have weakness too. Sharing a real piece of us is the perfect invitation to connection and relationship.

More Steps to Connection:
Understand All Have Insecurities


Brenda said...

This is the toughest part of relationships for me. Vulnerability. I can talk about my kids, my husband, school, but go to me and I tend to draw back. Good thoughts again Tami!

MiPa said...

When I'm teaching a study I seek to have one of those people in the room who is not afraid to say "I don't get it" because it frees the others up to admit it as well.

Sometimes it is easier than other times to be that vulnerable--because of the status of the relationship I suppose. I wish I could be vulnerable more freely.

Great post! And thanks for stopping by my place this morning. Your comments blessed and challenged.

Annette said...

Thanks for the reminder that we're not alone. I too have a hard time opening up thinking that the person will just think I'm weird. Thanks for the nudge to be vulnerable as scary as that may be.