Have you ever prepared for a conversation? Thought about what you wanted to say and made sure how you said it emphasized how you feel? Have you gotten up the courage to suggest a date, time, and place where you would put it all on the line and express all that you practiced? Then, when the moment comes to have this conversation, you find yourself leaving without spilling a single word.
This scenario has played out for me more than I would like to admit, but I can’t deny the truth. It happens. No matter the situation or who it was with, there have been times when I have held back. Even when I have wanted to admit something that I hold very close to my chest, I stay silent. It all comes down to fear—fear of being honest, fear of rejection, commitment, intimacy, or even the fear of opportunity.
I fear bad news, but I can even fear hearing something good.
Fear is controlling. It is a containment of self, and what upsets me most about being controlled by my fear is that I do not honor my feelings the way I should. I’ve always had a way with words, but unfortunately that has rarely helped me in the moments where I should have opened up and communicated my truths, and I think a lot of people do. As we grow, we learn bad habits, and one of those habits is to avoid what seems uncomfortable or complicated, which creates a disconnect in how we are with each other and ourselves.
Some people just don’t have the courage or the capacity to talk about real things, and because of this, we submerge ourselves in surface situations that leave no room for what actually matters. I think this detachment from our true thoughts and feelings is why I have conditioned myself to remain silent in moments when I could (or should) put my cards on the table and reveal my hand. Yet a lingering thought is etched in the back of my mind. What if I open my heart and get nothing back at all? I hate this feeling of hesitation and uncertainty that restrains me because, more than anything, I love to be involved in meaningful conversations of vulnerability.
Those talks of dreams and desires of the walks and wants within life. The discussions of ambition, intimacy, inspiration, and aspiration to be more. Those are conversations that breathe life into our lungs and make life worth living.
Sometimes it feels as though we’re all a little afraid of being vulnerable. Still, deep down below the thick skin I have accumulated over time, I truly believe that being honest is a strength and far from the weakness society loves to tell us it is. This way of thinking erodes trust, creates self-doubt, and stops us from pursuing our individual ideals of happiness. I keep searching for examples of a level of openness that allows an overt pursuit of oneself, but the more I look, the more I find people ignoring their potential because they are more concerned about what others think of them than what they think of themselves.
Why are we afraid to be vulnerable?
I don’t have the answer. It is a constant struggle of my own, but that doesn’t mean it always will. I may struggle with a fear of confronting my truth when it comes to certain parts of my life, and I may not always reveal my feelings to those I feel for. It isn’t my intention to avoid these things, but in a world where people run from their honesty, it’s hard not to experience loneliness when you try to confront your own.
Never let fear contain what honesty could set free.