Recently I met up with a small group of my girlfriends for coffee and conversation. It’s always a wonderful thing when we can connect in person. We catch up and connect the dots between life changes, social media posts, and short phone conversations we’ve had to hear all the details of what is happening in each other’s lives. This conversation though, left me with a story that needed to be shared. It moved me, and the other women as we sat around the dining room table in awe.
Over Thanksgiving, one of my friends had gathered with her family for the traditional turkey and gratitude celebration. Having gone through a recent separation from her husband, she was not wearing her wedding ring. Throughout the evening, one of her 3 nieces, Sophia, kept asking where her ring was and why she wasn’t wearing it. Sophia had the personality of a tough little protector. She would get into fights, and stick up for her siblings. She was the quiet, reserved, and strong spirited one of the three. She was whip smart, and would call you on your bluff every time. Sophia and her two siblings (all triplets) would normally love to read at the end of the evening before bed. But this day instead, Sophia said she wanted to play a game.
The game she asked to play was called ‘Deep Dark Secret’. The rules of the game, are that each person tells one silly secret (such as I pick my nose and eat my boogers). Then, they would follow up with a ‘deep dark secret’ that would be something more significant. My friend, agreeing to play the game, assumed the young children would not be able to tell the difference between the two types of secrets. She was wrong.
When it came time for Sophia to share her deep dark secret, she said “Sometimes, when I get into fights and seem mad, I really feel very scared.” My friend, thinking fast on her feet, replied “You know what Sophia? The REAL deep dark secret, is that EVERYONE deep down feels scared.”
This story reaffirmed the notion that children are in fact the most insightful little beings. And, on a deeper level, it also validated my understanding that we, as humans, despite age or personal stories, are much more alike than we realize. We all feel the same pain, fear, and insecurities and yet we hide it with an armor of ‘I’m fine’s’ and ‘Doing ok’s’ in order to protect our vulnerabilities. What I’m learning though, is that real connection, real TRUST is build in these small moments of vulnerability.
From Author Brene Brown’s Book: Daring Greatly;Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing, it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.TED TALK: Brene Brown. The Power of Vulnerability