There comes a time when we just have to admit our flaws and imperfections and if it happens for you as it did for me, the moment was unavoidable and filled with pain. November (insert any date you like here, although suffice to say I know exactly what day it was) 2013, I was faced by my loved ones and challenged to acknowledge that I had not yet opened the last key to an honest and authentic life.
Loved enough to know when the time had come to share some significant flaws, I made the last great move toward truth. Acknowledging that many of the decisions I had made up until that moment were driven by finding a man to love me, I shared with my loved ones that I had made many poor choices, hurt many, and cared little for others in my quest to find someone to love me. It was a painful time, one that with intention I will never forget.
I learned many powerful elements of loving kindness during that time, the largest of which is that if I share with others that I am struggling, they will hold me up. If I say I don't know the answer, another will gift it to me. If I am paralyzed and fearful and can only just barely share that, someone will move me forward. This idea...of honest vulnerability opened up my heart, my relationships, and my world.
Raised in the time and place I was, this was not one of the values or lessons imparted on me, as a matter of fact it was quite the opposite. Do not show fear. Do not share weakness. Do not present flaws, or needs, or pains. That was what I was taught, that softness is weakness and weakness is the worst imaginable label.
Looking back to that childhood message and the opening that occurred when I finally stopped carrying the burden of silently shouldering imperfections, I am profoundly grateful. I am reminded that I grow closer to those I love when I share my vulnerabilities. Cherishing those who allow me to lean on them and relishing being leaned on myself in the end equals the pride of having others actually know me.
This weekend was a weekend of sharing my flaws. Yesterday morning I pulled over on the side of the road in tears to call my sister to share how hurt I was about an experience. Later I called my fiancé and asked him to come home because I was lonely and didn't feel well. Tonight I canceled a client's session because I had to be two different places and it was too much. Last afternoon, I met with a trusted advisor and confided in her that I do not know how to solve an important problem. Friday evening, I permitted myself to be furious about the treatment I received from another and I outwardly expressed this.
There is no superhero me. On the contrary, I am severely flawed, deeply sensitive, ill-equipped, and at many times at a loss. However, unlike the first 32 years of my life I am able to admit that and although I always carried deep fear that no one would love me if they knew me, life is a miracle and the more honest I am about my flaws, the more love I am given. Being flawed is part of being mortal and truly the only salve I have found for this pain is to be loved. Living life authentically falls second only to being loved while doing so.