“A major hindrance to the experience of community is our difficulty in talking about our pain. We feel afraid; we feel ashamed; we want to maintain a certain image of ourselves, first for ourselves and then for public consumption. It is perfectly understandable–and yet it keeps us isolated and lonely.” Jay Feld
“Human beings connect with each other most healingly, most healthily, not on the basis of common strengths, but in the very reality of their shared weaknesses. . . . Shared weakness: the shared honesty of mutual vulnerability openly acknowledged. That’s where we connect. At the most fundamental level of our very human-ness, it is our weakness that makes us alike; it is our strengths that make us different. Acknowledging shared weakness thus creates a rooted connectedness, a sense of common beginnings. . . . Spirituality begins with this first insight: We are all imperfect. Such a vision not only invites but requires Tolerance: active appreciation of the richness and variety of human beings on this earth, along with the understanding that we all struggle with the same demons, we all share the same fears and sorrows, we all do the best we can with what we have.” Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, and then you read.” James Baldwin
“I have cried until the tears no longer come;
my heart is broken.”
Lamentations 2:11 NLT
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- If you really tried, could you find a safe relationship to talk about your pain?
- Do you think your pain is “unprecedented?” . . . that no-one would understand? . . . that your experience is unique?
- Most of us want two things: to really connect with someone (which requires vulnerability), and to be admired (which requires image management and being guarded). Which instinct wins out in your experience?
- Shared strength builds walls. Shared weakness builds bridges. Are you building walls or bridges?
Abba, give me the courage to reach out to others in all that I am as a fellow human being: succeeding and failing, admirable and disappointing, believing and fearful.
For More: The Spirituality of Imperfection, by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham