It’s human nature to want to connect with other people. We all want to have a person or two who just get us. We want to be seen, to be heard and to be understood. It must be why with the right crowd, with your crew or family or with your person, it always feels like home. Like you don’t have to try. Yet really, to be able to connect like that, the effort is in the willingness to bear your soul. It is in your readiness to open up and your ability to share your truth, your story and even your fears.
It’s not that you’re not trying. It’s not that with the people you connect with, you don’t put in any effort. It’s that you allow yourself to be. You let yourself open up to them. And if you’re both being genuine then it feels like you’re not trying hard. The thing to appreciate though is that it requires some boldness to do so; to bear your soul to another. For there are those who truly want to connect with you by hearing all your great many tales of triumph and misery. But there are many more who are in it for their own amusement and will leave you feeling crashed and burnt.
Ever been in a situation where you shared your truth, your story or your fear only for it to be turned catastrophically against you? Like yooo, what did you do that for? I thought we had a thing where we were totally bonding. In such moments, the wisdom of having shared in the first place is always questioned. Like you would have just kept your chatty mouth shut and you would have been fine. Even saved yourself some humiliation or the wrath of a self-absorbed person. The truth though is that to connect, we need to be a safe space for each other.
The things that people share with us about themselves are not weapons. When someone shares with you, they’re letting you in. They are letting you see them. And whether you choose to actually see them, hear them and understand them is up to you. When you pay attention and listen, it gives you a chance to visualize their story and buy into another whole world that’s not your own. You open yourself up to new beliefs, new ideas, new ways of thinking, and if not new then just different.
Sometimes other people’s truths, stories and fears are beyond you. They are beyond what you think is right or how you think things should be. In reality, the depth of our existence is far and wide. What is earthly possible is probably the true story of someone else’s life. And with a different set of experiences, beliefs, emotional triggers and worldly view, it could easily even be your own story.
In his play, The Self-Tormentor, the Roman playwright Terence writes “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” which is code for “I am human, I consider nothing human alien to me.” There is great wisdom in looking at everybody’s story as a human experience. It not only enables you to put people’s successes in perspective but more so their failures and their infamous choices.
Of course when you share it can be your greatest undoing. Of course there are people who don’t care an inch for your good nature. But if you don’t share then you remain in your own bubble and never get to connect with anyone else on a not superficial level. When you share, you encourage someone else to open up a bit more. And then a bit more. Then there’s more understanding, more forgiveness, more healing and a little more happiness. In case you’ve been wondering, this is how we restore our humanity.