“A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.” ~ Ian McEwan
This was one of the first pieces I ever published on Elephant Journal. At the time, making oneself vulnerable through writing was new to me. I thought it was a unique experience – that I was the only person who struggled to put myself out there when sharing words. I know now that’s not true, but it’s been interesting reading pieces of writing from long ago, and seeing how I relate to the words now.
I’ve never done it. Fully.
Because aside from being selfish—or that is the story I tell myself anyway—I am scared.
Scared to allow myself to be fully vulnerable. Scared to be rejected. Scared to be ignored, judged or ridiculed.
I guard my thoughts and emotions like gold. Safeguarding them deep inside myself, where no one else can see.
Maybe, being the selfish person that I am, I feel like my thoughts, ideas and emotions are more valuable than other peoples?
No, I don’t think that that’s it.
I think it is less risky this way.
I only share when it feels safe. With those few, carefully selected individuals with whom I feel I can trust with my most vulnerable feelings, thoughts and emotions. The sharing is done on a personal, one-on-one basis. It is controlled, secure. I know the recipient well. I can trust their reaction. My thoughts and feelings will be protected and unharmed there.
There is little risk of rejection, no matter how harrowing my thoughts or feelings may be.
Let other people share themselves with reckless abandon. So openly baring their hearts and souls with such apparent ease on their latest Facebook post or blog or website. So fearlessly revealing their most intimate desires, dreams and goals. Or perhaps voicing their personal thoughts and opinions at some large social gathering or community event, willingly throwing themselves at the mercy and endless judgement of the social masses we live in today.
I could never be one of “those” people who share themselves so completely, so unapologetically. So shameless in their honest divulgence.
Oblivious to all the doubters, the critics, the judgments waiting in store.
Let others take that risk.
I must guard my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas and dreams carefully.
Because don’t those people know what could happen by sharing so overtly?
They could be ignored—not even considered to be of enough importance or value for one to even give attention to or engage with.
They could be judged and evaluated. They are putting themselves on an open panel for everyone to appraise without mercy.
They will likely be wounded, hurt or criticized.
They could incite contradicting viewpoints and arouse strong, opposing opinions, or potentially instigate vehement discussion.
They could bring light to sensitive issues or raise awareness on precarious topics.
They could inflame passion. They could be the trigger for fresh ideas to come in to creation, for new ways of thinking to be formed.
Through their bold authenticity they could gain a deeper, more genuine way of connecting with others.
They could inspire feelings of relatedness and create the platform in which solid relationships can be built.
They could create powerful, meaningful impact in the world.
They themselves could be catalysts for change.
They can do this.
Originally published on Elephant Journal.