Being emotionally approachable is a good way to get hurt. It is also a good way to nurture and mature in the relationships that are important to us. Dependending upon our personal history, previous experiences, or personality, opening ourselves to others may be too big of a risk. We may have tried being honest with others before, but it resulted in rejection. And who wants to set themselves up for another wounding? Then there are those personalities that lend themselves to remaining emotionally out of reach. Some people prefer to insulate themselves behind cool walls of stone or to ignore any bids for emotional connections. Yet, daily, we have a choice to practice unmasking ourselves around others. When we do, we might find ourselves a little less anxious, a little more happy and a bit more at ease.
I once heard that courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I believe courage is a main component to becoming an emotionally accessible and unguarded individual. None of us are exempt from injustices, broken promises, or wrecked relationships. Anyone of us could tell several stories of our wounds inflicted as a result of being open hearted, candid and emotionally frank. Yet, to guard ourselves from ever being misunderstood, misrepresented or misinterpreted is to also close ourselves off, become stagnant and unapproachable. Our lives get a little small, opportunities to expand shrink and deeper connections with others become impossible.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Rachael Flick, a woman with her own podcast called Hopecast. Rachael has her own story, the loss of her husband in the line of duty. Now, she is a single mom raising two children and a widow. Yet, she reaches out, beyond her own sad story, and pulls together other stories, like her own, and offers hope to anyone who will listen. She calls herself a hope peddler.
Although I accepted her offer to be interviewed, it is always a bit of a struggle for me to tell my story. Of course I don’t want to be misunderstood, misrepresented or misinterpreted by anyone and yet, I have to accept that I cannot control anyone’s response to my story. Another tussle I have with telling my story is just how emotionally draining it is to talk about my father’s suicide. After the interview, I was exhausted, weary and depleted of any energy. Yet, it is in telling our stories that we somehow cast our net, reach out to others and give them a dose of hope in the midst of their sadness.
Why bother being approachable? It is not easy to share our sad stories. There is always the risk of rejection and yet if we remain closed off, self protected and silent no one is extended or stretched beyond just being sad.
If you’d like to listen to the first half of the podcast, here is the link.