“Danielle,I always find myself leaning in when you bring up your experiences of betrayal, friends, and relationships. What do you do when you realize at 42 that you have no one except your therapist to talk to? I’ve gone through my entire life holding everyone at a safe distance, always putting on a brave face, being the caretaker—and now when life throws its challenges at me… who do I talk to? My journal? How do you find a BFF at 42 with no history with that person? Thanks.”— With love, Yvonne.
Our fear of judgment prevents us from getting the love that we’re longing for. Backwards, right?
Our “safe distances” can be impenetrable walls, and we find ourselves lonely on the other side. Being a stranger to someone doesn’t have to be an impediment to intimacy. This is where courage comes in.
If you keep your pain to yourself, then people can’t help you. And people can’t know you. And you might be amazed, when you share your story, how many other people tell you they’ve been through the same thing. Or if they haven’t been through it, they have deep compassion/resources/intelligence/wisdom to offer. And that’s how community is created, and friendships formed. That willingness to be vulnerable is how we get through—on micro and macro levels.
Start by believing that sharing your truth can help alleviate your suffering… and believe it can be a gift to somebody else. Some of my most divine encounters have come from witnessing strangers as they shared their story. On a bus, in an airport, in a hair salon… they clearly needed to get something off their heart, and I happened to be the person who listened with soft eyes. It was transformational for both of us.
Yes, there are sacred containers—but you don’t have to use that as a reason to stay hidden.
You have the power to discern what to share and what to protect. There are times where you’ll only want to share your story with someone you have faith in—faith meaning you trust that this person wants the best for you. Trust can be so difficult, I understand. But here’s the thing: underneath trust… what’s to lose? So what if more people know that you’re struggling.
The Truth—YOUR truth—is the most certain, direct, and life-giving way to connect with others. Making friends as an adult is going to stretch you. LOVE IS EXPANSIVE. My prayer is that the courage to show up in our truth, in all sorts of situations, is met with the most nourishing reception.
EXCERPT FROM EPS 20