Do you want to be loved and accepted for who you are?
Then you have to be who you are.
You have to let your defences down. You have to be vulnerable.
And that’s a hell of a risk, because we’ve all spent years building up a defensive shell in response to the hurt we’ve experienced, haven’t we? Often, we get so used to the shell, are so grateful for the protection it provides, that we start to forget that it is not who we are. There are memories of how we were, flashes of our true selves – but we try to dismiss them as childish, weak, soft, self-indulgent...because we’ve grown up, right? Toughened up. It’s how it has to be…isn’t it?
In short, we want to be valued for who we are without showing up as who we are. But newsflash: it doesn’t work like that.
When we show up as who we truly are, we risk rejection and ridicule. That’s the hard truth.
But when we show up as who we truly are, we also create the opportunity for acceptance and connection. That’s the incredible potential.
When I heard Alain de Botton speak at an event a few years ago, he said that it’s only through sharing our vulnerability that we truly connect. If you’ve had that moment of “I thought it was just me!” when someone shared something with you, then you’ll know what he means…that exquisite sense of kinship and relief is pretty bloody special.
Michelangelo believed that he released his beautiful sculptures from the stone that encased them. Perhaps this is what happens to us when we choose to embrace our vulnerability: we chip away at those layers of defence and pretence that we’ve built up around us, until we reveal the beauty of our true selves.
And yes, maybe you’ll get hurt.
But it’s the only way you’ll ever be loved for who you are. And you absolutely deserve that.