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THE COURAGE IN BEING VULNERABLE

016Typically, I would rather be blinded by hot pokers and eat broken glass than reveal my “neediness” to people—because I have seen that needy people seem to be weak and despised; they are talked about and disrespected. In light of this, instead of being “lucky”, don’t you think “People Who Need People” are more aptly described as suckers?

I remember an incident when I was a teenager. My best friend was dating this incredible guy whose mother was young, vivacious, and just plain cool. We were very close with his family and friends, and visiting them was like a second home to us. One of the neighbor girls, who also hung around, was very “clingy”; we weren’t particularly close to her, and for some reason–yes, she was needy–shied away from her.

One day, when the neighbor girl wasn’t there, our friends’ mother who I will call “Gerty”, complained about her, and how she was at their house almost every day. Apparently she would stay through the supper hour uninvited and never leave. I’m sure Gerty wasn’t trying to be cruel, but perhaps exasperated and didn’t know what to do.

I listened, however, with a growing fear in my chest—an awful fear that she may feel the same way about me; after all, I was over there all the time too. I figured this may have been her way of dropping subtle “hints”. I decided there was no way I was going to risk “exasperating” the friends I had become so close to. Instead of communicating my fears, my visits became less and less frequent, and in my heart, distanced myself from them.

The following summer, the family announced they were moving across the country. This news was met with much heaviness and depression on the part of my best friend and I; our world as we knew it was ending. I had a lot of mixed feelings, guilt for some reason being one of them.

On the day they moved, as the last of their belongings were loaded in the moving van, “Gerty” pulled me aside. She said,

“Shari, I just wanted you to know how much we’ve missed you lately. You stopped coming around, and I’ve often wondered if we had done anything to somehow offend you. I hope that’s not the case; I just want you to know we are going to miss you sweety.”

She was sincere and just a wee bit hurt. I gave her a big tear-filled hug, but didn’t have the courage to tell her why I had been distant. The day was an incredibly sad one.

Besides being a lesson to me about the ills of talking negatively about other people, and how you never know how it may hurt someone who is listening, my experience should have also illustrated to me that openly loving someone is always worth the risk of being despised; you never know who is waiting to love you. Unfortunately, the lesson “Never be a pest” was more strongly enforced.

I still hate admitting when I “need” something, but as I look back, I see countless missed opportunities. I also see that people who admit their need for others are the ones who eventually find love, and are most definitely lucky. Making myself vulnerable is not about being “clingy” or “desperate”, but about bravely sharing my true self with people despite the risk of rejection; and knowing, regardless of outcomes, that love will somehow be there.

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3 thoughts on “THE COURAGE IN BEING VULNERABLE

  1. You’re timing on this post is impeccable. Your last sentence, shot straight into my heart. Powerful, powerful, powerful. I want to print this out and keep it as a reminder. wow. Thank you…..

    Liked by 1 person

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