"What if I get hurt?" "What if it's worth it?"
I'm gonna spoil the end of this post by just saying up front, it will almost always be worth it. Even if you don't get what you want, even if things don't go how you'd planned, in my experience, trying to connect with someone will (almost) always be worth it. If nothing else, you'll learn something about yourself, and maybe have a cool story to tell.
I'm an introvert. I was raised as an only child, and based on some of the conversations that I've had recently, I'm learning that we don't really talk much about the effect that that has on who we become and how we interact with people. That's another conversation for another day, but for me that meant that I spent a lot of time alone and in my own world as a kid which is the result of both nature and (lack of) nurture. In the grand scheme of things, pretty small.
In theory, I love people. In practice people infuriate and exhaust me. But I want to hear their stories. I highly value human connection. I'm fascinated by society. I'm an internal processor. I want to engage on my terms. I like being in control. I'm really good at being alone. Community is very important to me. Now we're back to people.I typically stick to safe people. I gravitate towards people like me, or at least people who make sense to me, and those are the people who I connect to. I recently decided that I wanted to go beyond that. I wanted to meet and know more people, and I wanted to do it in an "all in" kind of way. And I thought, 'this should be simple.'
So, I've been trying to encourage myself out of my comfort zone. Going places I wouldn't normally go. Saying yes to things I wouldn't normally say yes to. Allowing those around me to make the decisions. Trusting the process. Even when I'm unsure, I default to decisive, and lately I've found myself wrestling with a lot of 'I don't know's and 'I'm not sure's. I've found myself hanging out with people I wouldn't have chosen, at places I didn't want to be, doing things I'm not really here for. It sucks. It's exhausting. I don't like it. But, I'm learning so much about who I am and how I relate to the world, and that's been huge.
I'm incredibly anxious, but I don't really get embarrassed easily, which is more of a curse than a superpower.
I'm insecure, but I'm also pretty determined, and when I decide I want something. I fight to make it happen.
I'm an over thinker, but it's because I care deeply.
But let me tell you a secret. Putting yourself out there doesn't mean that you'll get what you want. It just doesn't. Like, it doesn't even mean that you'll like what you get. It doesn't mean that you'll get anything at all. Sometimes you'll lose something. Sometime it's something you were meant to lose. Me, I don't let people in. I recently had a conversation with a person who I lived with for years who said to me "Do you know how little I know about you?" And that kind of hurt. Because I felt like I had been vulnerable. I felt like I'd opened up to them. But when I thought about it, I hadn't. In my mind, because even the act of attempting to connect to someone the "hey, how's it going?" or the "let's hang out sometime!" feels huge me talking about talking about myself felt just as emotionally draining as what I thought actually talking about myself would feel like. But it's not the same.
Where's the worth in exposing your inner most self to people? It's being able to see and know one another for who we are at our cores.
What's the benefit? Getting to be in love and community with who people are not just the idea of them.
So what's the power of vulnerability? It's knowing others and allowing yourself to be known, and a part of that is getting to know yourself.
I value connection and community.
I want to hear people's stories.
I've never thought of myself as someone with a story to share.