I write about intimate details of my life all the time. At this point, I’m closing in on 100 unique blog posts in addition to several shared blog posts and podcast episodes.
The seemingly deepest parts of my life are on display for the world to see. I keep only one obvious barrier with you, dear readers, and that is a pseudonym; otherwise, you probably know me better than most people in my life.
And yet there are a few things that I keep close — secret — from those closest to me. Because I am afraid of being vulnerable with them.
I’m not talking about “coming out” — I’m talking about the matters at my very core that influence my actions in ways few could ever imagine. A thought at my core can have repercussions through entire years of actions, decisions, and beliefs.
These few core thoughts — they get hidden away. No one sees them. Not my friends, John and Carver — maybe not even Lisa, my wife.
I will refuse to let these thoughts see the light of day.
I’m sad to admit I am cunning enough, at times, to cover the tracks leading back to these thoughts. Even when I “get real” with my inner circle, I can hold these thoughts closer to my core and place a facade in front of them. No one is the wiser.
Why do I do this?
Have my dearest friends and loved ones done something to garner distrust? Are there any “red flags” keeping me from revealing these thoughts?
Honestly — no.
This is something at my core. A thought gets shuffled around, placed behind walls and boxes, and gets hidden away from everyone. And yet — it might be the most powerful thought of all.
And no one knows what it is. Until recently, that is.
One night, one of my dearest friends and I were hanging out. As I sat next to him, I began to feel one of these core thoughts take control and begin wielding its influence. My friend noticed.
Normally, this is where I’d make up some stuff about what I was really thinking. I wouldn’t lie necessarily. I would say authentic thoughts and ideas — but I wouldn’t be directly honest about my core thoughts.
That night was different though. For one of the few times in my life, I spoke one of those core thoughts out loud.
I shared one of my core thoughts with my friend.
I froze at the words coming out of my own mouth. They sounded otherworldly — and yet the calmness I felt revealed them to be entirely true.
I continued on to talk about this thought, what it was and why it was there. My friend listened patiently. As I finished my brief glimpse behind the curtain, he comforted me. He reminded me I’m not alone and that this thought — however personal to me — is something that many can resonate with.
We said good night shortly after that. It was late, and we both needed sleep.
But I couldn’t help feeling something new, like a lightness in my soul. I fell asleep quickly and rested peacefully.
The next morning, I awoke initially nervous. Did I share too much? Would my friend turn on me after my moment of vulnerability? Was it too personal for our friendship?
I took a risk and shared this fear with him. His chuckled response of reassurance quelled the fears. The lightness had returned, and I got on with my day.
I don’t want this to be a one-time thing. Not with this friend and not with those others who are my closest and dearest loved ones.
I want to be vulnerable. I want to be known. And I want to know others.
Including you, dear readers.
Do you draw any walls of vulnerability in your relationships, even your closest ones? How do you gauge what’s worth sharing and what’s worth hiding?