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The Courage To Be Open

By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

The health of our relationships hinges on our skill in the art of openness. Openness is a powerful force that must be treated with respect and used responsibly. Blurting out the first thought that randomly bubbles to the surface of our mind is a sure indicator of our lack of understanding of the power of true openness to set in motion the fulfillment of our heart’s longing to be connected and in communion with like-minded others.

When we decide to risk being open with another, we set sail on a journey into uncharted territory. There is no guarantee that our self-disclosure will be received, respected or accepted. Since the results are so unpredictable, why would any thinking person take the risk to open their secure inner world to someone else?

The answer lies within the definition of open. Open is defined as: not shut or blocked up; allowing passage in or out; available; exposed and sincere; clear, to set open; to uncover; to give access to; to begin; an opportunity.

When we are reticent to disclose anything but name, rank and serial number we take up a place in the ranks of the terrible, boring army of the interpersonally cautious.

The motivation to be safe from judgment, criticism and emotional harm is understandable but taken to extremes will ensure that the joy of discovery and the magic of truly knowing another will stay forever out of our grasp.

Wishing and hoping that someone will someday appear in your life bringing gifts of warmth, camaraderie and love is a wonderful fantasy, but an unlikely reality. It would be like trying to warm yourself at a fireplace that has no wood and isn’t lit.

Our decision to elevate our understanding of the dynamics of openness sets the stage for genuine opportunities to create new beginnings. Often, in our important relationships, we are afraid we will expose ourselves too much or not enough. This ambivalence about speaking of what is most significant to us is very common.

What is most important to share is often the areas where we are most vulnerable. We all conceal much of ourselves from others and therefore travel incognito to some degree. It is those very things that most need to be discussed that we hide most carefully due to our fears and insecurities.

In our culture, we commonly have two types of problems with our feelings. We are either unaware of our emotions or our feelings surge through us with such force that reason becomes impotent. We are, therefore, either blind to or blinded by our emotions.

Our emotions are key to the quality of our relationships. They help define and shape what we value. Our feelings are a fundamental part of our motivation and help determine our direction and purpose in life.

Openness is an art and it is day labor. It requires an expenditure of energy to sidestep our passion for appearing perfect in favor of surrendering to the intuitive call of our heart’s intelligence and quest to open new vistas in our lives.

If we are out of touch with ourselves, then it is impossible to touch others. The paradox is that we are solely responsible for the quality of our lives, but we must include relationships to create meaning.

We all have certain basic needs in common whether we admit it or not. We need to feel valued, welcomed, safe, nourished, seen, heard, included and in communication. When we take on the challenge of treating others with respect and acceptance, we meet and come together in a spirit of communion where everyone benefits. The result is renewal and regeneration.

The price? The willingness to admit and manage our personal insecurities instead of hiding from them or blaming others for our discomfort and our unfulfilled needs. When we no longer fear our inner world then connection with others becomes an enriching luxury that allows our authenticity to grow and genuine relationships to flourish.

Susan Velasquez facilitates on-going small group workshops on the topic of how to unleash the power of your intuition. Learn more at: susanvelasquez.com

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  1. I love this: “When we are reticent to disclose anything but name, rank and serial number we take up a place in the ranks of the terrible, boring army of the interpersonally cautious.”

    I love the whole column. Thank you!


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