Dinner with Vulnerability

I had dinner with vulnerability last night...

I met one of my friends who happened to be with me during the day of the Boston marathon bombing.

For those who do not know, we were approximately a block away when the bombs were detonated and had actually just left our view of the finish line.

As you can imagine, this made quite an impact on our lives in various ways. We remain friends and take time out of our busy schedules to meet every couple of months.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make sense of what happened that day and it had been a very long time since I’d checked in with her about how she was feeling.

We often do something when we are together, so we are usually distracted, and focusing on whatever is on the agenda that day.

Last night was different. We had uninterrupted face to face time and the only focus was us.

I shared that the bombing had been on my mind quite a bit recently and she shared that it’s on her mind a lot too. I was so surprised! I always thought she was able to distance herself so quickly, to heal faster than me and that she never felt the need to talk about that day.

I had NO idea. I had no idea that she felt that same way as I did. I had no idea that she still struggled to make sense of that day. I had no idea she still had some residual effects. None.

In an instant I went from feeling quite alone to feeling so understood.

I began to ask myself… why did I wait that long to ask her? What made me think she wasn’t as affected as I was? How had we gone this long not directly talking about that day?

I quickly realized that the answers were all the same- I had to make myself vulnerable and I was afraid.

I had to take risks. For all I knew, she may not want to talk about it, she may not feel the same way as me, I might cry in front of a ton of people in public, I may begin to relive that terrifying day, and that she may think I’m weak. The list went on...

Last night, I let that fear go and I became vulnerable with her.

We shared, we cried, we hugged, we laughed.

Time stood still.

I felt the void in my heart fill- I felt heard and loved, acknowledged and validated.

I felt calmer, clearer and motivated to continue to face life.

I learned a valuable life lesson.

To find true connection we must face our fears of being vulnerable with one another. To take risks to be our true selves. And, to honor one another’s deepest feelings and thoughts even if they differ from our own.

I hope that this short story from my own life helps you find the courage to take risks in being vulnerable with those you love.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness:

“Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.”

Always keep your integrity and stand up for your truth.

Always lead with love and curiosity.

Dare to be vulnerable.

THIS is where true connection lives.

Leah Constantz