Wednesday, May 09, 2012

It Begins with Us

So, this certain issue has come up a few times recently.
And when things are repeated around me, I tend to take notice. And think about them. A lot.

I've been pondering the idea of vulnerability. Honesty. Being real.
It's hard to do, isn't it?
To be real, that is. Thinking about it isn't as difficult. But to actually be honest, and vulnerable - to really put yourself "out there" - well, it's just hard to do!
I started thinking about how I used to feel so alone in my struggles as a mother. Although I knew lots of other moms, I was pretty sure I was the only one who struggled. It seemed to me that everyone else was perfect; that they had it all "together". And I wasn't about to let on that I didn't. Therefore, I put on a face whenever we were together and I acted like I was just fine.
I acted like I was perfect, too.
Because if anyone knew I wasn't? Well, I thought they wouldn't like me.

Then something crazy happened.

God helped me understand that He is using my struggles for good. He showed me He's using them to refine me, and I discovered I could have hope in the midst of this mess.
And when I started talking about it? Actually confessing my struggles? I discovered there are a lot of other moms out there who are struggling, too. I am not the only one who isn't perfect.
To top it all off - and this is my favorite part - after I started speaking about my struggles, I can't tell you how many mothers approached me with tears and thanks, so grateful to know they aren't alone, either.

I realized for as long as I kept my struggle to myself, no one was the better for it. I was miserable, and other moms like me thought they were alone, too. But when I started talking, that is - when I got real, and honest, and gave vulnerability a chance - it was as if a whole new world opened up. Not only was I set free to be real, but so were the women with whom I spoke. And we have developed a bond, a community of support and understanding. I love it!

All this thinking and reflecting has brought me to a conclusion. If we're tired of living among people who don't seem real, who never disclose their struggles, and who appear unwilling to be open - and if we want that to change - we need to be vulnerable, ourselves. I am convinced one person's honesty opens the door for others to be real. I've seen it happen so many times! So, if we want to have real relationships, we need to be real first. It begins with us!



Anonymous said...

It takes a lot of guts(sorry I know that sounds yucky, but it was the first thing that came to mind)to be vulnerable, honest, or "put yourself out there." Now, I agree with you, being honest and true to yourself, usually will be a good thing and can help you and those around you. But I think one of the major issues is what I call "put on a happy face" mentality. I think alot of people do this because they want to be percieved a certain way in social atmospheres. Probably because they think they will be judged. I love real-ness though. I agree with you, if more of us were more real, it would break down barriers and walls which keep people from truly helping eachother and truly knowing eachother.**Here is to keeping it real**chera

Irritable Mother said...

Chera - Yes. And then there's the "Sunday face". You know, when you walk into church looking like you haven't a care in the world, but inside you're caving in? How can we help each other if we don't know anything is really wrong?

The Laundress said...

Triple Yes.

I find that whether people like it or not, Real is the only way I can be. Contrary to popular demand.

Sorry I haven't "visited" in a while...been a rough couple of months...


Irritable Mother said...

Janet - It's so good to see you! Though I'm sorry to hear you've been having a rough time. Thanks for being real enough to say so. I'm praying for you, my friend!

Anonymous said...

ha ha...i love it, "sunday face"--I haven't heard that before, too funny. I agree, when people put up a facade (hope I spelled that right), then one- we don't really get to know them and two-it is usually really obvious that they are being fake.

Sometimes though I can understand that the fake thing is just a boundry marker because sometimes we really don't want to get close to people....does that sound insensitive. But do you know what I mean? I have to really trust someone and feel comfortable with them to really be myself. I notice in the past, when I was kind and myself in many instances with people through work or family social events, I got walked on or used. So maybe people also do the fake persona to protect themselves. Just some different thoughts to ponder.

I definitely agree with you both though, I'm definitely one for REAL-NESS!!!***chera

Irritable Mother said...

Chera - Yes. We definitely take a risk in being real. Not everyone will respect it. :(