The secret to truly living

I recently had a friend come over unexpectedly.
It had been a while since we’d seen each other, but we quickly found ourselves in pretty deep waters. We sat on my back porch, nursing our glasses of ice water, and discussed things like deep familial wounds, crises of faith, struggles with identity, and more.

As we chatted, I took a moment to sit back and marvel at our conversation. We were asking and answering some really hard questions. The type of questions that most people would often shy away from completely – especially considering the amount of time it had been since we had last seen each other.

A few times, I found myself waging an inner war. I tried to convince myself to suppress the more probing questions, give a sanitized answer to the more vulnerable inquiries. Yet I decided not to; I chose instead to open up and have a truly vulnerable conversation.
By the time she left, I was amazed at how refreshed I felt.
On the whole, our conversation had not been light, airy, or particularly happy. Yet I felt all of those. It was a rejuvenating few hours, a time of true human connection that is harder and harder to come by.
Asking and honestly answering hard questions is possibly one of the most difficult things we could do. Vulnerability is challenging. It’s like opening up your very soul and letting someone else in, no strings attached.
Yet it can also be one of the most life-giving things we could do.
As humans, we crave connection. We were built for far deeper relationships than an occasional text or what you see on someone’s Instagram account. So often we spend our lives hiding away our true selves, not realizing that we’re suffocating our soul in the process.
That’s not to say that you should bare your soul to any random person you come across. There is health in restraint, just as there can be in vulnerability. Yet if you are going through life without ever having these kinds of deep, heart-to-heart conversations, I would venture to say that you’re not truly living.
As William Wallace once said: “Every man dies. Not every man truly lives.” Are you living, or simply watching your life go by on the sidelines?
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