Inspired by my recent setback, I have been on the quest to understand, reflect and learn deeper about myself and others.
One of the things I’ve done is to connect and listen to people’s stories about their setbacks, deepest fears and insecurities. Something that they don’t show and something I don’t know because they would never share even when I know some of them for years.
For the matter of fact, I was never be someone who likes to sit down in person and talk about personal topics such as fears, insecurities, the raw and the ugly truth about personalities, relationships, mistakes and desires. I found it to be weak and unnecessary to share and listen to what you are not good at or lack of or struggle with. Typical masculinity trait of society in my head always told me to suck it up and be strong, be fine cuz none cares.
That might explain why I didn’t hear much of those uncomfortable stories from those around me and I didn’t have the need to hear or share all these years. Yet, this time is different as I found myself wanting to give it a try.
I have been fortunate enough to listen to >10 stories in the past 3 months – none of them coming from my close friends or someone I talk to often. I found all of the stories are both surprising but profoundly inspiring with lot of lessons to learn. And, I’m grateful to be trusted to listen to their dark and unwanted stories.
But hey, it wasn’t that I schedule a catch up over lunch/dinner or drink to talk about these topics initially. Typically, the stories being shared when I feel this can be the right person to share then I would open up first to share about myself and my personal stories. I made myself vulnerable to all the possibilities of being judged, laughed at, hurt and so on. Something I would never thought I could do.
I could be lucky, but I have found that every time I opened up, the other person did open up and share with me back. And that how each convos lasted for 3-4 hours of deep talking and sharing without the initial intention. At the end of each catch up, I always felt like I didn’t know this person at all, how could I knew you for years/months but I didn’t know about all these things about you. And I also heard from my friends too about me, they don’t think I could be such a not-so-cocky and dry-person but quite the opposite. (yeah I’m aware that’s the image many of you know about me Y_Y). Some of the things and skills I’ve learnt so far from those stories are: understanding other’s needs, setting boundaries, listening, compassion…etc
More importantly, some of my friends have told me that “you know what, being vulnerable to share your struggles and the ugly sides of you is not a weak thing. It, in fact, shows that you’re strong enough to let people know you’re not perfect, you’re a normal human being with flaws and insecurities. And that’s what a strong person does.”
Yeah that sounds about right to me haha but yup this only happens when I open up first then the other person reciprocates. And I do care about what they share by not only listening but also putting myself in their shoes to feel what they feel and not being judgmental in the moment. I’ve reckoned it’s a beautiful thing to do.
So the key takeaway and a reminder for myself is I will continue to open up and share 1st, of course not with everyone, and not afraid that I might be judged or laughed at. Cuz If I do, that person seems not the right friend anyway 😀 And yes, being vulnerable is not weak, it’s the new strong !
Thank for reading folks, would like to end this post by a saying from my favorite writer, Mark Manson.
“The most valuable skill in life is to learn to care about people and show them you care. This involves a willingness to care about others and willingness to be hurt by others.”