The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.
This is one of my favorite quotes from Neil Gaiman, or anyone really. I’ve referred to it before. He’s talking about how you know when your writing, or whatever your art is, is starting to be good. When you are starting to find your own voice. You know it because you feel exposed, vulnerable. And you keep doing it anyway because you don’t have any idea if any of it is going to work, but it’s what you do. You keep doing it because only you can.
This is something I have touched on before. Being open. Being vulnerable.
Being vulnerable, being open has good points.
Sharing on a deeper level. Exchanging ideas, thoughts, feelings. Being more alive, more part of everything, more real. There are huge rewards in human connection.
It also has a downside.
When share who you are on the most intimate level it is a risk. People may tell you that they can handle it, or that they want it as much as you do. Sometimes they can’t handle it even though they want to. Sometimes they say they want to, but they are only telling you what they think you want to hear. Some people, maybe a lot of people, really don’t want to have that level of sharing or connection. Sometimes people just lie, and when the rejection comes it stings all the more because it is your real self that they are rejecting.
So what do you do?
You hurt a little, or a lot depending on how strong your feelings are for the person. You move on.
You try not to let it impact how you interact with other people.
You keep trusting, in spite of the hurt.
You try not to take what feels like a very personal rejection personally. Yes, it’s hard. No, I am not very successful at it.
It’s really all you can do if you want to keep building genuine connections with people.
The other day after a long, frank conversation about my experiences in trying to be more open, someone asked me how I can keep being so vulnerable in spite of all of the times that people have rejected me as too intense, too complicated, too weird. It’s pretty simple, really: the connection I make with the people who I do really connect with is worth it. There’s no question in my mind that it might not be worth the hurt.
I’ve had some amazing conversations with people over the last few months. Some were hard. Some were deep emotionally, or intellectually. Some were sexually more frank than any conversations I have ever had. Not sexting, but shared ideas/preferences/history. Each of us putting ourselves on the line.
If it’s a choice between being distrustful and trusting, between being scared to share my feelings and just diving in head first, I am going to keep trusting and sharing even though sometimes I land on the rocks. I am learning resilience. I am learning the power of being connected to the people I interact with. It is all too good to step back just because some people are scared or dishonest. If other people are frightened, or less than truthful that is their choice. I can only make mine.
It’s all I know to do right now, to have faith in the power of connecting with people.
Even though some people are dicks.
Most people are not. Maybe some people are not ready to share in the way that I would like, but when it happens it is really special, and really intense. It’s hard for me to imagine anything else.
It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.