I’m overdue again. This time I’m showing up late out of fear. I noticed that some people actually read these words, so I convinced myself that I had to wait until I had something to say that was worth reading. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or to waste this space. I wanted to wait until a perfectly formulated, perfectly original thought and argument came to me that would totally blow your mind, rock your world and change the way you thought about life for at least the rest of your week. So finally, after nearly three months of this, I decided to just sit down and start writing. I decided to stop taking myself so seriously and putting so much pressure on myself. No author has ever been 100% successful with their writing; no one has ever written only perfectly relatable and thought-provoking words. And no one can write life-changing words without a few duds in between.
At least, I don’t think so—and I don’t want to be proven wrong, so if you’re thinking of an absolutely perfect writer, maybe don’t enlighten me this time.
Over the past few months, I’ve considered a few different topics for my next blog: intuitive eating, progressive Christianity, and what it means to be whole. I decided that I wasn’t qualified enough to write about intuitive eating, I wasn’t strong enough for the inevitable backlash I would face after writing about my beliefs, and I wasn’t a good enough writer to write about such a big topic as what it means to be whole. Evidently, I still have much to work on in the self-esteem department, so I’ll tackle those topics when I’m a bit closer there. Until then, I’d like to stick to the stuff that I have experience in: imperfection and grace.
I may not hold any degrees in nutrition, dietetics, politics, religion, philosophy or psychology, but I get to use this space to show you the way I see the world. My opinion matters no more or less than yours does, but maybe if we all acknowledge that everyone’s experiences contribute to our greater understanding, we’ll all take ourselves a little less seriously and we’ll all be a little less afraid to be vulnerable. I think the more we share about our viewpoints, the more we get to not only learn about ourselves but also start conversations about how we differ from one another. Sharing our opinions is scary and I can’t say that I’m fearless when sharing my own or that I always respond with grace to the opinions of others, but we can’t expect to grow if we don’t talk about our differences. I need to be able to share my thoughts and feelings with my loved ones and know that they’ll still respect me, even if we stand on opposite ends of the political spectrum. If I’m too afraid to share my viewpoint, how can I ever expect anyone else to share theirs?
I think we all need to make a conscious effort to listen to the viewpoints of others and speak kindly to one another, even when the conversation gets tough. If we all took a moment to say, “I respect you as an intelligent human being, no matter what your opinion is,” I think we’d be able to share openly without fear of rejection or disdain. I think the biggest problem our society faces is the lack of willingness and ability to listen to one another. With listening comes compromise, respect, dignity and growth.
I hope you strive to listen intentionally this week. I hope you encourage those around you to speak out about the things that matter to them while respecting if they’re not willing to open up. I hope you offer them the utmost respect when you disagree with them, and I hope you admit when you’re wrong. I hope you show up with all of your imperfections. I hope you acknowledge the importance of your perspective and I hope you engage in more vulnerability than ever before. Most of all, I hope you give yourself grace when you’re scared and know that, if what you’re sharing doesn’t scare the living daylight out of you, then maybe that’s not what vulnerability looks like to you.
If you’re someone who feels comfortable sharing about topics that seem to be difficult for others, then maybe you’re not living as vulnerably as you thought. Maybe vulnerability is about more than speaking the unspeakable. Maybe it’s time for you to find your own version of what it means to push yourself.
If you’re the opposite—you struggle to open up about most of your thoughts and feelings—then know that I’m cheering for you. I’m rooting for you and I’ll be here to hold your hand when you’re facing your fears. All you need to do is ask.
Thanks for reading.