I wonder how many of us out there sit alone in our quiet rooms at night just desperately wanting to be heard and seen.
Most of us spend our days out there in the world — talking to people, meeting with people, interacting with people. And yet, I think we can spend our whole lives doing this without ever having anyone actually see or hear who we are.
Sadly, it seems as if the world is full of people desperately longing to be heard, but it’s greatly lacking in people who want to listen.
Because listening is hard. It requires so much of us – it requires humility and grace and an ability to tolerate discomfort and hard things. It requires us to see other people as individuals. And that’s really hard because once we see other people as being real, we can’t use them as easily, we can’t tread all over them as easily, we can’t put them into neat little boxes. Because when we see real people, we necessarily see pain, and for most of us at least, pain is hard to ignore.
This is an issue that is dear to my heart because I have three little girls. And the world gives young girls in particular the message that they shouldn’t be heard. That they can sing and dance and write pretty little poems, but the other things, the darker things, are better left inside.
The problem, of course, is that stifling those darker things – the pain and the confusion – doesn’t make them go away. They just start to grow and fester. They become malignant. What once was some mild confusing feelings and pain are now bulimia and addiction and falling through nets that are not there.
And so I guess that’s one of the reasons why I write. Because when I write, I can share the things the world would probably wish I kept quiet, and in doing so, I hope to give permission to others to do the same.
Our world revolves around quiet lives lived behind closed doors. But quiet lives can hide raging storms. If we broke out more and shared our storms with the world, it would be a whole lot messier but it would also be a whole lot healthier.
We wouldn’t see tidy packages; we would see tender souls, vulnerable and breaking but so beautiful it’s hard to take it in.
When we see another’s pain, we see another. We see what needs to be seen, and we give them permission to shout their truth from the mountain tops.
It’s not easy – sharing ourselves – and it’s surely not without a cost. All we can hope is that we have people around us who are able to foot the bill.
Who we are, who you are, is a gift. Don’t be afraid to share all of it. Even the parts that might feel a bit broken. Because after all, that’s where the beauty lies.
Man sitting alone photo available from Shutterstock