For those of you who have followed my blog, or have been so kind to read it, may have noticed that it's been awhile(seven months) since my last post, specifically when it comes to Gal Pal Society. I decided to take a break from the series, and I had begun to question the message I was attempting to convey after several potential "features" gave negative feedback to the blog and proceeded to doubt my intentions as well. To say the least, it was quite discouraging and forced me to re-evaluate what exactly I wanted GPS to be and how I wanted to present it to my readers. I intended on jumping right back into things today with a new female feature, just like before, and hope that it would be welcomed back with unbiased opinion. I had my feature lined up and ready to interview, but instead I changed course and felt as though I should re-launch the series by first tackling some issues I think are top priority.
When I sat down to begin this post over a week ago I tossed around the notion of "setting the foundation of friendship", and what is vital for any thriving relationship? Two things quickly came to mind: self-awareness, and vulnerability. It would be easy to assume that our strengths are what make us likable, and we strive to impress; in our friendships, through social media, and in everyday interactions. The problem isn't that we want to highlight our accomplishments, but that we want to disregard every other part of ourselves as weaknesses for fear of being misunderstood. In our minds a friendship should exist without conflict, be beneficial rather than a burden;so when we begin to feel vulnerable we choose distance, preventing those around us access to our true selves.
Why are we so desperate to ignore the very things responsible for making us who we are, and creating a pristine narrative to explain who we're not?
conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
How do we expect others to understand us, if we have never made a genuine effort to examine the most delicate parts of ourselves? To be self-aware, we must first understand our personal strengths and weaknesses, our behavior, and ultimately the impact we have on others; self-awareness is the key to self-love, and furthermore being capable of accepting love and support from others. To lack self-awareness can be devastating to any budding relationship, and more importantly for personal growth, because ignoring your own thoughts and feelings, is the self-conscious decision to live your life for other people.
As women we allow ourselves to live for others on a regular basis. We sell it as "selflessness" when in reality it's because we lack "self-awareness". This not only rings true in friendships, but in relationships, and careers as well. If you lack self-awareness, you are incapable of understanding, and managing your own emotions, leading to great anxiety and stress. In order for us to open our hearts to others, we have to commit time to discovering what it is that makes us tick, and why. If we do so, we are far more capable of establishing deep-rooted, and thriving connections, with healthy expectations of others.
the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
Vulnerability is greatly avoided by most of us because it means we have to open ourselves to the possibility of criticism, and/or judgement. We rather present ourselves with emotional stability, free from pain, or discomfort, and adversely denouncing the very things that make us relatable. The deliberate withholding of your own vulnerability is denying those seeking you to connect with any amount of depth, and ultimately degrading the purpose of friendship as it was intended.
Women have the talent for great deflection and admittedly I have fallen guilty of this far too many times. We may be going through a difficult season in life, or just simply having a bad day and instead of confiding in those that care deeply for us, we deny our moment of weakness and say things like "it's no big deal", "there are greater problems in the world", "I'm just being a baby". We're diminishing our struggle when we should be embracing it. Our weakest moments are the very ones that strengthen our ability to relate to others.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis
The greatest gift we can give others is our vulnerability, the purest form of ourselves. In a community of Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, and Wives we are guilty of overcompensation and degradation of our characters and fearful of our imperfections. There needs to be a genuine effort beginning with ourselves to abolish the lie, that our worth is only measured by our success, and that we have no value in our weakness. We must be present in one another's lives, show interest and support for those around us, encourage self-awareness and vulnerability, and embrace every facet of those individuals we call friends. Hypocrisy holds no position in a friendship, and we should not tolerate our nature to diminish someone's bravery in being human.
I challenge you to explore these two topics this week. If you're struggling to deepen a friendship or searching for a new one, be the first to practice vulnerability, and share something profound with them. Be honest, be open, and be humble. Above all practice love and kindness! As always I hope this blog encourages and uplifts you in some way, and I thank you so much for taking the time to read.
Love you all.