I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day, which made me think about an earlier blog post I wrote, “The Value of Authenticity in Relationships.” My friend and I have known each other for a number of years, and we have tried to be authentic with each other. While I thought we were close, recent events happened that pushed us awayfrom each other and made us only discuss superficial topics. My friend then brought up how I was a “frustrating friend,” as I only talked about superficial topics; so, the friend had lost interest in our friendship. We were both going through hardships, yet we did not share with each other. This example shows that it is even hard to reach out to share with your friends. The friend had thought that I was always happy and bubbly; while they were having a hard time. People do not usually confide in people they don’t trust. However, in order to trust someone, you likely have to build a relationship with them which requires time and effort.
After my friend said that, I had an “AHA” moment. While I had thought I was authentic, I have a hard time being vulnerable and letting others (even in this case my closest friends) know what’s going on in my heart. The truth is, I am not always happy and bubbly and am apparently very good at masking. Maybe I’m good at masking because in the society where I was raised, you are taught to always put your best foot forward. Your image is very important, and success is what matters. When people ask, “How are you?”, they don’t want to hear about all the things that are going on in your life, so most people respond with “good.” I guess I thought/was taught that appearing as if you have it all together shows a sign of strength. However, truth is everyone has struggles as no one’s life is perfect. I think it’s important to get people talking about what’s going on in their lives; and for all of us who have walls, to break them down. I have a hard time letting down my walls as I don’t want to be judged. However, your friends and family will stand by you and help you through hardships. Life is not meant to go through alone. Odds are, others are going through similar things to you.
So THANK YOU friend for the reminder to be more vulnerable in my relationships and to open up more. I’ve learned my lesson and am going to take off my mask. I’m going to be honest when people ask me how I’m doing.
It may be hard to be both strong and vulnerable, but it is so worth it!