Vulnerable

Jun. 24th, 2010 09:24 am
krikketgirl: (Advice)
I had the following interchange with [livejournal.com profile] jeffholtonon Twitter, where he tweeted, "Sharing our failures is a favor to others to help remove some of the guilt/stress over imperfection, no?"

My response was, "I think it can be...but it has to be used wisely and appropriately, lest it delve into fishing for reassurance."

And he responded with a challenge: "Fair point! I look forward to your post about personal rules for "wise and appropriate" application."


I'm big on shortening the distance between you and me. You've heard me talk about the "Me, too!" moment that I strive for in connecting with other people; it isn't until we understand our commonalities that we can explore--in any meaningful sense--our differences. Until we arrive at some kind of mutual understanding, then disagreement is simply defensive posturing, walls between you and I. Once we've arrived at understanding, we can then seek understanding based on our knowledge that we are both intelligent, capable, human beings who are trying very hard to walk a meaningful path through this world of ours.

The idea of vulnerability is one I come back to time and again when it comes to blogging. This isn't a blog with a specific purpose; I share, I expound, I try to enlighten, I do all kinds of things. And something that has to be asked is what, then, is appropriate for this space? If I can write anything I want to, what is worth writing? Coming back to the idea of connection, if I seek a deep connection then I must be willing to be real. There must be no material difference between the "me" that is here, on screen, represented in writing and the "me" that you might meet for coffee between flights--or, for that matter, the "me" you might fly across the country to visit.

What does that mean, in terms of vulnerability? It means that I try to be fairly spin-free. This isn't an advertising agency for Krikket Brand Dish Soap. It's a real person written into words on a page, and if I am to be honest then I must be honest in showing both happy and sad, challenge and victory. To show less is to gloss over the uncomfortable parts of life; it has been my experience that it is in sharing the uncomfortable places that deeper relationships can take root.

There is a danger, however, and this brings me to the idea of motivation and purpose. My purpose, if you will, is to communicate that I am a real person, with hopes and dreams and fears and struggles that are similar in some ways to yours. Sometimes, I am seeking support. Sometimes, I am trying to offer support by saying, "You're not alone." But I must always be careful of my motivation. It is all too easy to start reporting every doubt, every fear, every worry, every weakness, in the hopes that all of you will comment and tell me how great I am, or how unfair the situation is, or take away some of my guilty feeling at having tried and fallen short once again.

Over time, left unchecked, that can become habit. I can begin putting myself down to you, in the hopes that you will take pity and raise me back up. It's a grab for attention, no more. And I want so much more than attention. That kind of attention, after all, lasts only until you are looking somewhere else. No, what I want is to become a part of your heart. I want to show you how life looks to me, and I want to see how life looks to you. I want to engage in the kind of communication that knots us together and changes our lives in ways large and small. I can't do that when I am engaged in fishing for your reassurance and compliments.

So how do I balance those? What are my rules?

#1: I try to avoid pointless whining (or, at least, when I am whining, to label it as such).
#2: Wherever possible, I try to post about the not-so-good along with the lessons I'm learning from the not-so-good.
#3: I think, "What kind of response would I be wanting from this?" If it's only sympathy or reassurance, I think very carefully before writing it out. Is it the kind of thing that will resonate? Or is it a moment's anger or despair that I will regret tomorrow?
#4: I try to remember that just because it crosses my mind doesn't mean it needs to cross the keyboard. Just like toddlers, we all need to have a few things that are ours and ours alone, that we choose not to share. We all have our petty, irritable, frustrated moments. Sometimes, it is right to share, and sometimes it is not.

Audience Participation: Your rules of engagement?

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