How many friends would you say that you have at this point in your life? I don’t mean co-workers, I don’t mean your workout partners and I certainly do not mean your Facebook friends….
I recently read a study that stated the average number of friends that any one person possess has dropped from 8 to 3 over the past 20 years. Say what you will about the validity of this report but it is worth reflecting upon. The authenticity of developing relationships has been removed from the current picture. Think about how technology has altered the way in which we interact with others on a daily basis. It used to be so that if you really wanted to know something about someone, you actually had to approach that person and ask. Imagine the terror!
Technology has made us lazy. We no longer need the ability to connect with others in a natural charismatic way. As a matter of fact, more and more marriages these days are consummated on electronic dating websites like eHarmony and Match.com….
For some reason we all feel the need to hide that which will hurt us, if someone actually discovers.
The value of vulnerability is that it leads to long, lasting AUTHENTIC relationships. The devastating nature of Facebook is that it gives us the platform to broadcast our daily highlight reels while avoiding those embarrassing, and possibly shameful moments. Could you imagine treating your Facebook page as a proverbial “wall of shame” where you broadcast to the world your failures of the day? As preposterous as this sounds, this is exactly what our true friends know of us. Our true friends love us despite our weaknesses and we have no reason to mask them. These are the authentic relationships that we long for. Acceptance is a basic need that we all have in common. Acceptance in the face of imperfection leads to an authentic relationship.
You will never a true friend if you cannot bring yourself to BE. A true friend. Being a true friend requires that you live out “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Being a true friend is not pretending to be someone you’re not. Being a true friends acts according to the YOU FIRST-THEN ME mentality. Being a true friend gives mercy and grace without hesitation. Mercy being the withholding of what it is we deserve and Grace being given in the moment what we do not deserve.
So what comes to mind when you consider the concept of vulnerability. If that picture looks like a bunch of middle-aged men sitting in a circle holding hands and singing Kum-buy-Ya….you are way off (and sadly fit into the category of having very few friends.) Vulnerability requires a strength that we may not be able to imagine. The strength to realize and embrace our own imperfection and offer it to others! Vulnerability is most certainly not weakness and to think accordingly is nothing more than a reflection of pride.
Authenticity means “into the real me” I will allow you to see.