Pink tree blossoms have bloomed all over Sacramento. The sun is shining and though I know that it's still winter it feels like spring on this Valentine's Day. Yesterday I spoke with my editor about the changes I will make to my fiction novel. There's a vulnerability that comes with being a writer. Ernest Hemingway said it best, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Then when you've given over your soul to your story you get to have others review it and tell you what they like and dislike. When the book is done readers will critique your creation. I liken it to standing naked in front of the world while people criticize or compliment not only what I look like but who I am.
In order to be a great writer I know I have to go through this process. The first time it happened I wanted to defend my writing and make excuses for why I wrote what I did. I spent days wanting to never write again. Over the years, I've come to a place where I can listen to the critique, take in what makes sense, sit with what I'm uncertain about, and do it all without losing my confidence. I find that editorial advice is my greatest asset and if I simply allow myself to take it in without my ego getting in the way then my writing becomes stronger.
As humans we're terrified of judgement. Maybe it goes back to the first time we're scolded as kids or embarrassed by a teacher for doing something wrong. I'm uncertain what causes us to be afraid of rejection or criticism, but many people spend their lives afraid to open themselves to a vulnerable place.
The place where this kind of exposure is the scariest is in personal relationships. In order to love and to be loved we have to let someone into the deepest parts of our being. We have to trust another with the most sensitive parts of ourselves. Great relationships work when we allow another human to see our truth, our dreams, our perceived flaws and we see theirs and we are loved and love them deeply for exactly who they are.
The problem that arises is that people aren't always gentle with others hearts. There's a selfishness that runs through our world - love me the way I want you to love me and then I will love you back. Become the person I want you to be and then you will be worthy of me. I watch men approach women in social settings and even though the man is being sincere, the woman brushes him off like he's beneath her so that her ego feels better never seeing that the man was in a vulnerable situation.
I believe the most exposed place of all is when we share our biggest dreams with other people. Our dreams are the place where we realize the person we wish to become. They are the path to the life we want to live. To state your dreams is like stripping off not only your clothing but your human form and saying, "Here's my soul for you to judge. Do you think I'm worthy of having everything I desire?"
It's in our vulnerability not our egos where our spirits reside. It's in the place where we strip away the external. If people became more willing to open up with less worry about others judgement I believe many more people would be able to love deeper, live fuller, and in turn open a place for the people around them to do the same. It's when our hearts are open that we are actually our strongest, but in order to understand this first we must let go of our fear that we aren't enough.