On The Mortifying Ordeal of Being Known

In an infinite world with infinite possibilities, every one of us has a reality where we have the perfect friend group. We have a close circle of friends we hang out with on Fridays; the ones we call at 3am in the middle of the night to rant about how our romantic interest is moving mad. They are the ones we facetime at the most random moments; friends who know how we like our meals and why we never sleep with the lights off. We have this group of friends with whom there’s always a remember when moment. We have a tight knit circle.

But in our actual realities…

Many of us fail to find friends like this. Rather, we find ourselves on the outside of different friendship circles. No one really knows us. All we have are acquaintances and we don’t understand why. More often than not, we- the victims- are also the perpetrators and this is because we are afraid to show the world our realest selves. Usually, we don’t even realize this.

Many of us believe that we are open books, there for anyone to read. Meanwhile, in reality, we subconsciously work hard to prevent that from happening. Wanting love is interwoven with being known. The latter terrifies us.

But here’s what we don’t know…

We fail to realize that these seemingly scary admissions are the things that bring us together. The sad stories, the embarrassing ones, the dysfunctional family, our less than savory relationship with our parents, the people we have hurt, the ones who hurt us, are inevitably the glue that holds relationships together. These tiny flaws in our codes show other people that we are human. The cracks in our facades let them know that we are just as imperfect as they are. And nothing draws people together more than the parts of themselves they see in others, the broken parts. To be loved, to be truly loved and to love, we must be ready to bare ourselves.

Love isn’t unconditional if they only see us when we’re prim and proper. A friendship where you only see each other at your best is hardly a friendship. Because there’s nothing real about something perfect. What’s more? A friendship based on that illusion is a friendship bound to fail. You need to show it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you truly want those Friday night hangouts and the friends who will wait for you when your laces come undone; if you want friends can call in the middle of the night, friends who know your strengths and weaknesses and who complement it, you need to speak. To show. You have to be vulnerable. Every relationship is built on vulnerability. Without it, whatever the ship, it will sink.

PS: The complete quote “…if we want the rewards of being loved, we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known” is from Tim Reider’s essay I Know What You Think of Me in the New York times. You can read it here.

For more amazing posts like this, check out the Love and Relationships section on our blog.

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