I guess its just my nature, but I'm one of those lucky ones that people open up to. Doesn't matter where I am, the gas station, work, on an airplane, people seem to divulge things to me that I am privileged to hear. Now sometimes it doesn't always feel like a privilege because its a little much, but I always create space for their story, because there is something about raw honesty that I live for.
Like, at the same moment that I acknowledge the weirdness...OK, she's going there...I am humbled by it and lean in like yea, lets go there. Maybe part of it is that I have yet to hear anything that shocks me and that is so relieving to the storyteller. I might be a bit surprised that in the locker room at the gym you're telling me about how you used to sell drugs to you children's teachers, but I am not shocked by the actual content. NOTHING shocks me.
People may be looking for me to be shocked, but I don't give them that. I can validate their feelings and understand that whatever it is, its a big deal to them. It doesn't need to be shocking to weigh on someone, so if they need validation, I can give them that. But, most people have heavy stuff they would tell no one and delivering the information to someone who just takes it as it is, and then explores where to go from here, is comforting to those who I speak to.
I wish we could have more of these conversations. A lot of my climb or the work I have had to do has been centered around stuff few people know about. I get that people need to earn the privilege to hear your story and that vulnerability without boundaries isn't vulnerability, but what if we could be more open? What if we could bare a bit more of what got us here? What if we genuinely tried to understand people, discover what they're holding onto and what drives them?
Unfortunately, I wouldn't advise people to open up. I would tell them to be careful in who they expose themselves to in an effort to protect them from more trauma. Our society isn't one that can handle much honesty, even though we ourselves each have a story, things others don't know, and couldn't imagine. I guess thats why I stay more disconnected because the thought of engaging in small talk exhausts me, but raw honesty ignites me and so I save my energy for that. Connecting with people on that level is human and I think we could use more of it.