Transparency vs Vulnerability

Transparency vs Vulnerability

Photo by Jenna Hamra on Pexels.com

“I can be transparent without being vulnerable.”

I was scrolling through some comments on an Instagram post when I saw the quote above. I read it, scrolled past it, then scrolled all the way back up to it because I felt like I missed something. I read it again, and bing! Light Bulb came on. Oprah calls it the Aha! Moment. Many thoughts came flooding in as I looked at it, speechless. I figured I’d share these thoughts with you, so let’s dive in shall we? 

A lot of us millennials pride ourselves in being much more advanced introspectively than our parents and grandparents. We vocalize our opinions and beliefs, and we stand confidently in them too. We share details of our lives that our parents would rather keep to themselves, such as our relationship with our mental health, our personal hiccups and failures, our political affiliations, our stance on certain societal issues, etc. We view ourselves as the champions of truth; the valiant bearers of transparency. 

However, have you ever known so much about a person yet you still felt like you didn’t know them? Your feelings may be correct. More and more I am realizing that many of us know a lot about each other, without truly knowing each other. We know facts. We know details. We may even know feelings attached to these facts. Yet none of these things truly hit the surface of being vulnerable. This describes transparency — open to see all the details, good or bad, and that’s where it ends.

Vulnerability on the other hand requires more involvement from both parties. Transparency gives you the agency to start and stop how much you share. Vulnerability allows someone to not only know about you, but to actually know you. Vulnerability opens you up to another party engaging in your truth. 

Well, what does engaging look like? Vulnerability creates the space for the party to experience those emotions with you, experience the time with you, and navigate the space with you. Being transparent is letting your friend know that you were hurt by something they said and why. Being vulnerable is allowing your friend to know how and why you were hurt, giving them the space to express their feelings and thoughts, and creating an area to navigate that together. Transparency begins and ends with you. Vulnerability begins and ends with us.

Transparency is like going to a museum — the most interaction you get is by seeing all the artifacts and admiring or disliking what you see. Vulnerability is like the Olympic sport Curling (click the link — you’ll be amazed and amused 😀 ). The team members are engaging in the synchronized objective of moving their stones to the target area. Likewise, in vulnerability, both parties are equally engaged in the objective of moving the relationship to the relational target of being seen, heard, and understood.

Transparency begins and ends with you. Vulnerability begins and ends with us.

So what, Delz?

I think this is so key to the building of healthy relationships because a lot of us are being transparent without being vulnerable. And it makes sense. While we are a super transparent generation, we also are a highly skeptical one. We don’t easily trust the world. Even our close friends we may not fully trust. Some people don’t even trust their spouses. And with that lack of trust, it makes sense why we aren’t willing to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is sacred and requires a safe space, which cannot exist without trust. Vulnerability requires you to not only share the truth, but to also share yourself. Moreover, vulnerability requires you to not only share yourself, but to allow the other person to share themselves too.

This is communication. This is relationship. But jeez, this is also scary.

Just the other day, Francois and I were discussing relationships when he told me that when he first met me, he was surprised at how transparent I was. I had always considered myself an open book. However, we both agreed that while I was comfortable sharing facts, happy to even, I was not vulnerable. AT ALL. And transparency will only go so far in relationships. It takes vulnerability to truly address the issues that arise, because again, it’s not just you or me — it’s us. In fact, I am currently learning to practice vulnerability in the relationships I hold dear to me, and to exercise vulnerability in my writing. 

So, here are three things to consider if you want to dive deeper into your relationships and exercise vulnerability.

Transparency vs Vulnerability isn’t a question of wrong or right, but a question of how and when.

Both transparency and vulnerability is a necessity in communication, but it’s all about time and place. Transparency is important because the facts are important. Your thoughts about your manager’s upcoming project proposal is valid. Your feelings about a mistake your partner made are valid and should be heard. It moves into vulnerability where you express and you invite feedback — empathy, emotions, issues and solutions. Both are necessary, but only one takes you to sustainable solutions.

The prerequisites of vulnerability is respect, trust, and reverence. 

Does the person/friend/partner respect you and your core values? Do you respect them? Can you trust them? Do you think that whatever you tell them, they will treat it carefully? Vulnerability is scary because it is so risky. What if I’m taken advantage of? I’m sure some of you are asking that. And that has always been a fear of mine. However, ask yourself these questions to truly assess whether it is the right time to invite someone into that space. Vulnerability isn’t something you just jump into. It takes time to build on the trust. If you’re in a relationship, maybe your first activity on vulnerability could be to explore these questions with your partner. And to my fellow jaded friends, remember, not everyone is a scumbag who won’t treat your heart delicately. Trust me, there are good people out there; people willing to hold your hand through it all.

Transparency is the capsule while vulnerability is the liquid form.

Did your mom have you drink a spoonful of tonic and a spoonful of cod liver oil daily too? My face is grimaced and I’m silently gagging as I type this. I hated it! However, it does the body good. With the introduction of capsules, the fishy taste is no more and we get our needed daily dose! Or do we? Research shows that absorption is quicker, dosage is more accurate and oil is fresher and more potent when taken as a liquid. Capsules run the risk of holding rancid oil, it takes half an hour to absorb, and since no two bodies are the same, dosage is harder to be generalized to one capsule per day. Moral: transparency is easier on taste but you gotta work twice as hard to really know who the person is. Vulnerability may be hard to swallow, but it does the heart good and opens you up to the essence of that person.

Both are necessary, but only one takes you to sustainable solutions.

What next?

So we all know the difference between transparency and vulnerability. We also know the fun facts of cod liver oil and Curling. What do I do with this information? Well, firstly, you’re welcome on that fish oil tip! But on a more serious note, this is just some thoughts on the matter to help you and I both navigate our various relationships. If you keep hitting the same block, it could be because there is a lack of vulnerability. Even in your relationship with God, or with yourself, if you are not vulnerable, you can’t be held accountable, and you won’t see sustainable change and breakthroughs. Ask those prerequisite questions, explore your issues with vulnerability, and seek out people, places and experiences that facilitate that. I want to see us all be the best we can be — it all starts with becoming okay with being vulnerable.

Do you have a hard time with vulnerability or transparency? What do you think of this topic? Let me know your thoughts below!

Love, Delz

Quarantine Connection

Quarantine Connection

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

Welcome back guys!

I am hoping that wherever you are, you are fairing through this pandemic as best as you can. 

The chaos surrounding COVID-19 has everyone struggling to find new ways to cope. Alcohol sales have spiked, the social media apps are seeing an influx of active users through Instagram live sessions and TikTok, streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ among others are being flooded to pass the time, and Zoom is dominating the conference call streets. Meanwhile, there are students of all ages, either crying to go back to school to be with friends or have a sense of normalcy, while others are away from home, longing to go back to be with family. Parents are struggling to home school, while others are struggling to find help while juggling jobs of essential care. Some people are dreading working from home, others are dreading working in exposed environments, and others are lamenting the fact that they no longer have a source of income. 

There are so many things that make this time a very uncertain, anxiety filled time, but there is one theme that has become even more important as we are trekking through this thing: Connection. We were created to connect. Furthermore, because of technology and social media, we are even more connected than we once were a decade or two ago. And because of COVID-19, we have been searching for all the ways we can connect to stay sane, really. 

Here are 4 things we should be connected to during this time. Continue reading to find out!

We should connect to…

Ourselves — With the uncertainty and the bombardment of mixed messages about this virus, we have to be grounded. If you are anxious and feel like you are going crazy, I am here to assure you that this is totally normal. I started freaking out when things started shutting down all over, especially knowing that my husband still had to go to work since he is an essential worker. But what helps is finding things that ground you. This is the time to incorporate some self care. This may be as simple as creating a new, soothing skin care routine or a bubble bath, or more complex like seeking professional help. BOTH are very important and even necessary. Invest in yourself. Your body [and mind] is a temple — you have to take care of it, and it can become difficult when your mind is racing and your anxiety levels are creeping up, but I promise you, scheduling some time to take care of yourself will help that. While you invest in yourself, disconnect from avoidable activities that amp up your anxiety or fears, such as negative self talk or comparing yourself to others on social media. Pro tip: teletherapy is very big right now — Talkspace and Better Help are good places to start.

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“Invest in yourself”

Fulfilling relationships — I know, I know… one of you is probably thinking, “I do not like people.” And my response to that is, okay lol but you do though. No matter if you’re an extrovert who gets energized by being around fifty-leven people, or you are an introvert who loves your select few for a certain amount of time, we all have relationships that fulfill us. Those relationships where you can be totally yourself, you enjoy yourself, you feel SAFE, and you are at peace even when the whole world is crashing down (which it lowkey feels like it is). Invest in those kinds of relationships. For me personally, I ADORE the people in my life, the real few I keep close to me. I love cuddling up to my husband while watching a movie, I love talking to my family (like my mom – Hi Mammy!), and sending voice notes to my friends. The truth is, we are all affected by this, one way or another, and this is the time to really take stock of the beautiful people in our lives. And you are beautiful to someone too! So, connect connect connect. And if you’re like me that hates video calls, just find another way to connect. Let the people you love know you love them, and be more intentional. Moreover, reconciliation may be needed in relationships with parents, children, friends, etc. If you recognize reconciliation as possible, please exercise compassion, patience, and transparency. Listen to each other and rely on the love you have for one another.

Fulfilling activities — This differs from person to person, but there are activities that either during or after you’ve done them, you feel at peace or better yet, you feel whole. These activities promote who you are and fill you up, and this is important now when the crisis around us feels draining. What activities make you feel great inside? Writing has been a great activity for me and it also plays a part in connecting to myself, which was mentioned above. If you don’t really have an activity that brings you the joy you crave, I would suggest trying new things! Try painting, practicing makeup, reading, doing at-home workouts, cooking a new dish, etc. This connects back to investing in yourself — explore who you are and love yourself through this journey of figuring out what you like and dislike. It is not only a fun process, but it also redirects your focus from the chaos on the outside to what’s on the inside. 

“And you are beautiful to someone too!”

*Sidenote!* Please do not mix this point up with other advice urging you to use this time to start a new business, draft a grant proposal, plant a garden, or get rock-hard abs. While these are amazing activities, do not do them to try to make yourself “more productive”. This is a quarantine, not a down-time in between careers or a vacation. Do them or try them because you are curious about them or because they bring you fulfillment, not because you are meeting society’s standard of what you should be doing.

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God –We all have a source: something we believe in and connect our very existence to. I am a Christian and I love Jesus (*cue J Moss – Sweet Jesus*), so God is my source. During this heartbreaking time, I think it is crucial to take a moment and connect with God. I entered 2020 really confused as to what the heck is happening, and at the end of the day, only God truly knows what’s going on and why things are going the way they are. Connecting to Him means I have a chance to pour out all my anxieties, all my fears, all my insecurities, all my disappointments with no form of judgment, and all forms of compassion and grace. Use this time to explore Scripture, learn a new verse, change the way you pray, incorporate prayer meditation into your worship, or revisit why you became a believer in the first place. Again, this goes back to investing in yourself, because it is God that remains constant while the whole world is spinning, and reconnecting with Him is a sure way to invite peace into your life and home in a way that passes understanding.

I hope these connection reminders were helpful for you guys, and remember: Don’t beat up yourself — we’re all trying here. I am trying to come out of this quarantine as best as I can considering the circumstances. Try to aim for that and I bet you’ll be okay too. And last reminder, if you need help connecting to any of these things, there are professionals who are willing to connect with you.

Speaking of connection. Connect with me! Comment below some of your fave activities or the people in your life who fulfill you. I’m curious 🙂

Love, Delz