Being Lloyd Dobler: A Lesson on Authentic Vulnerability.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ~ Brené Brown
For most of my adult life, I lived within my comfort zone. I’ve kept most things close to the vest, rarely spoke up, and didn’t take risks or make waves. If anything felt even remotely uncomfortable, I would slowly walk away. As a lover of good dialogue, I am candid with my thoughts and feelings, but baring my heart with the possibility of rejection isn’t something I do often, if at all.
A little over two years ago, I was introduced to someone with whom I felt a very deep soul connection. It was one of those things that felt strangely familiar and yet had no rationale, we had so many similarities yet were very different.
After about a month after getting to know one another, with many emails and texts after our initial introduction, we met for the first time. A year later, we met up again, and after a very long evening of talking, we shared a kiss, and this left me with even more unanswered questions.
This was the first person I had met and connected with after the end of an eight-year-long marriage, and I wasn’t rushing into a relationship. Just note how long it took to get a first (and only) kiss!
Being someone who embraces transparency, I wanted to see what was his take, so I composed an email and put myself out there. I lay bare my feelings and asked if he felt the same about me. I then slept on it, because you just don’t send emails at 4 a.m.
After a night’s sleep and a few cappuccinos at brunch, I sent my confession. I was a mess all day; my little heart was pounding a mile a minute, and close to midnight, I got my reply. The response was not what I had hoped. Despite my initial disappointment, I felt at peace. I didn’t get what I thought I wanted, and I could have felt defeated and rejected, but instead I felt triumphant.
When I shared this with my friends, I received great praise: You’re a boss! You’re awesome! Thank goodness for girlfriends. This reaction got me thinking about how the pure act of stepping into our vulnerability was incredibly courageous and authentic. Brené Brown, researcher and storyteller, has helped us as a culture to truly embrace the concept of vulnerability as strength, and this was the first times I truly saw it at play for myself.
In the last two years, I have been actively working on healing a broken heart and loving myself fully, while also getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I could have easily withered away out of embarrassment and rejection, or as a friend said about herself, “felt defeated because I failed,” but it’s not failure when we truly open to be seen.
In that moment, the response I got from this man didn’t matter, it was more about me opening up and freeing myself of all the insecurities I had been carrying for years of not feeling worthy. It was a test of my resolve.
This small act of valor showed me I could bare my heart, and regardless of my sentiments being reciprocated, approved or agreed to, I could feel valued, loved and cherished, by my own self. It didn’t change the value of who I am or what I have to offer.
Because what I have to offer is pure gold. I am solid in my own love, and when the time comes when I meet my Diane Court and it does work out, it will be that much more amazing, because I will have nothing to lose or gain since I am already whole.
I am so grateful for not having my feelings shared, because it has taught me the more I step out of my protected box and allow myself to get a little uncomfortable, I grow. With growth comes freedom, and when we feel free, we can feel real love.
Jenny Medina is a writer, blogger and an intuitive conversational healer. She is a Martha Beck trained Life Coach, and has studied and trained with numerous Shamanic practitioners in New York and Arizona. In addition, she has trained in psychic development and is certified in Ericksonian hypnosis. Jenny’s YouTube Channel is where she posts weekly videos sharing her personal life stories along with suggestions and resources on how to dig deep and live a self-actualized life with freedom and humor. Jenny lives in NYC with her two little spirit guides. Her interests include astrology/numerology, health/wellness, interior design, cooking, Yoga, and personal development. You could contact her via Twitter or Facebook.