terry lige honesty vulnerability

Honesty and Vulnerability: Empathy not Judgment

I model honest, open relationship.

We just completed another amazing Deeper Connections weekend where another group of participants had the opportunity to learn and memorize the Leadership Commitments. Number ten says. “As a leader, I model honest, open relationship.”

Honesty and vulnerability is one of the most difficult things to do in relationship because of our fear of judgment and rejection. My greatest need is acceptance, my greatest fear is rejection. Many of us carry a belief that says that our shadow side is completely unacceptable to others and if people really knew what we have done they would quickly abandon us.

What I have discovered running programs for the past twenty one years is that our fears are misguided. The Connections program is built around the choice to be honest and vulnerable. I challenge every group of participants on Friday Evening to practice these behavioral bridges over the course of the weekend and they will discover that it is not judgment they will experience, but empathy. As a matter of fact, the more honest we choose to become the greater the empathy and compassion we experience.

Here are some of the payoffs for being more honest and vulnerable;

  1. It releases fear, guilt and shame.

Many of us are carrying guilt and shame from the poor choices we have made in our lives. Suppressed guilt and shame is what makes us sick from the inside out. When I choose to be honest with myself and others I release the shame that resides within. When I choose to be honest in a group setting like Connections, I discover that there are others who have made the same poor choices. Our collective honesty levels the playing field and provides us with a point of identification and connection. It is my opportunity to embrace the truth that we are all imperfect and human and that my poor choices do not disqualify me from meaningful engagement with others.

  1. It allows me to let go of secrets and lies.

Choosing to be honest and vulnerable allows me to come out of hiding. When I feel bad about what I have done and am convinced that I will be judged for what I have done, I will hold onto to secrets and lies. There is nothing quite as debilitating as holding onto secrets and lies. You expend an amazing amount of mental and emotional energy trying to keep track of what you have shared with others and what you have not shared.

When I choose to be honest and vulnerable, I do not have to evaluate and censor everything I say. I can just speak from what I believe is my truth and allow those who are listening to respond in whatever way they choose. Letting go of secrets and lies is a truly liberating experience.

  1. It connects me deeply to others.

Deep down we all have a desire to be seen by others and to be known by others. When I open up and share all of me I choose to let people in. They may not always like what they see but it is a real and genuine expression of who I am. Real heart connection takes place in that authentic experience of one another. I have discovered that my authenticity attracts other authentic individuals. And, those are the people I want to hang out with. How about you?


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