We all love to know things, don't we? Whether it's the stats on our favorite athletes, the latest gossip on social media, or the latest political debacle. Not only to we love to know things, we're even rewarded for it by our education system. The more we know, the smarter and more important we feel. But where is the risk in simply gathering facts?
All the facts and things we know don't have a way of making judgments about us. We feel safe when we keep our relationships fact-based; this makes it easier for us to make judgments about others and ourselves. In his book, Anatomy of the Soul, Dr. Curt Thompson points out that these types of judgments also have a way of reducing our anxiety and increasing our feelings of protection and safety. However, when we limit our relationships in this way, we also become more isolated.
On the other hand, what happens when we allow ourselves to be known by others? This can be more than just a little scary. When we open ourselves up to be known by another, we make ourselves vulnerable to the other. The risk in being known is that we allow the other to make judgments about us and effect us. By doing so, we give others permission to either reject us or love us. In order to be known, we have to trust the other with our self. Being vulnerable and allowing the other to truly know us is also the pathway to better knowing ourselves.
When my clients take that risk of opening themselves up to being known, it is in that moment that the Lord's grace floods in and their healing truly begins.
Chris Ellman, MSW, LCSW