Have you ever wondered why your greatest friends can tell you anything? Relationships that are authentic feel caring, accepting and kind. Real sympathy is derived by sharing from the heart and telling it like it is.
Ester and Amy are best friends. They were not always that way. Two years ago Amy walked into Ester’s life just as Ester was being dumped by her boyfriend of 8 months, Randy. Amy, naturally empathetic, recognized the suffering that was Ester was experiencing and became a sympathetic listener. By being open and non-judgmental, Amy became a safe place for Ester to talk about her breakup. The secret was Amy’s sharing of the grief and embarrassment she experienced when she broke up with her first love, Mike. She shared how she didn’t want her parents to know, fearing they would think she had caused it by being demanding. She also shared the apparent mistake when she told her sister Julie about the break-up. Julie chastised her and told her how stupid she was for letting Mike get away; claiming she would never have another chance at someone as great as Mike. Amy learned that not everyone she thought was safe to talk to could just listen without judgment. She vowed to be someone who would really be there for her friends.
5 years into my marriage I had an affair. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I hid it from my wife for many months, but the strain it caused became too uncomfortable to ignore. When I finally confessed, my life began to change. This led to soul searching, especially by digging into the inner problems and outer concerns that led to the affair in the first place. When I shared what I found out about myself with my counselors and wife, the healing could take place. Although the journey was difficult, the peace and closeness that was missing was restored. It started by being willing to tell the truth about what I had been hiding.
The access to authenticity is often just being willing to reveal some flaw or story that doesn’t make us look good. That may be a tall order for many of us. Have you noticed the many times your friends revealed themselves to you and you felt relieved to know that they too had problems, and that they also worried about being liked and thought of as beautiful or smart?
What are you hiding? Be brave and take a look, you’ll be OK even when you find it and if you are ready to have a breakthrough in being deeply related, share it with someone you care about. If it is something that needs to be cleaned up, have that conversation with the appropriate party.
Share with us your experience. We would love to learn from you. Pass it on!