transparency: how being vulnerable can actually make us stronger

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Transparency is powerful.

Through transparency comes authenticity.

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” – Brené Brown

When sharing comes from an authentic and genuine place – from the heart – it’s not boastful, but influential.

A transparent heart is what connects us as humans.

It keeps things relational, it keeps things real.  It forms connections that otherwise wouldn’t exist.  It grounds the prideful and lifts the fallen.

As a writer, I constantly struggle with what part of my stories and my feelings I should and shouldn’t share.  What’s too transparent, what’s too much information?  I think some things are better left unspoken because if we tell everything, then what’s left for just ourselves? Nothing.  There’s something fascinating about secrets that keeps life mysterious.  Mysteriousness has a different kind of beauty all on its own.  But there is so much power and beauty in sharing stories and unique experiences that I believe the opportunity to learn from each other far outweighs the mystery of a secret.

I felt like Kenny and I were fairly open throughout his illness.  If someone asked, we answered.  Were there parts we didn’t share or completely tell the whole story?  Probably.  But it wasn’t to keep anything from anyone.  Some things were just easier left unsaid and kept between us.

When we started the blog, almost 2 years ago to date, it was to share our story, our struggles, and updates on his health.  We wanted to help others in similar situations feel safe, hopeful, and for them to know that they weren’t alone in their journey.  When Kenny passed away only a month after starting the blog, I was unsure if I should continue the it or if I even wanted to keep posting.  We only had a few posts at the time so it wasn’t like we had a huge following that would be looking for more posts, and it would just be me now contributing to the content.  I thought I could easily just shut it down and never post to it and just let it go away.  But then I thought about the reasons why we started it.  And I realized the reasons are the same, but now it was going to be me sharing my story, my struggles in hopes to help others in similar situations to feel safe, hopeful, and that they are not alone.

Even though I wrote the above paragraphs just a week after losing my job last May, they ring even truer now than they did back then.  I’m still trying to figure out this whole writing thing – what I’m writing, who I’m writing for, what I’m writing for, etc.  But I do still believe, even more so than ever before, that I have a story to tell, and that through the openness and authenticity of the story, it will help others discover their own hope and courage through their stories.

Authenticity requires vulnerability.  When we become vulnerable, we don’t become weak.  But we become stronger by growing together and helping each other through trying times.

Don’t be afraid to be authentic.  Don’t be scared to be vulnerable.

If we all took off our masks, if we stopped worrying about exposing our flaws, if we shared our stories, we would have the opportunity to see that we are more alike than we once thought.  We would see that we’re not alone.  We’re all flawed, we’re all human.  It’s what connects us to one another.  Through these connections, we can allow ourselves to be our true selves.

No more hiding, no more masking.

Just being pure, raw, and beautiful.

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