Vulnerability is actually an asset and not a weakness.
Just as it is central to resilience, vulnerability is actually at the core of all aspects of wholehearted living (just ask Brené Brown).
Authenticity is truthfulness and bravery, vulnerability and humanness all rolled up into one's own expression of self.
Being vulnerable is the repeated act of exposing what makes you deeply you.
By definition, you cannot be vulnerable without fearing that your motivations will be misunderstood.
That is why it is a deeply courageous act to be authentic, because you are facing your fears of rejection at the same time as you are putting your heart into the open.
What is authenticity made up of?
Authenticity is the continual exploration of our own values and interests, living in as close alignment to those ideals as possible.
Being authentic means losing some friends and gaining wildly adoring supporters—the sort of close friends that are not just merely placeholders in your social life, but the kind of female friends who you would comfortably call sisters because you share a similar kind of life-blood.
Here's what is incredibly wonderful about showing more of your real self to other people: other people start showing more of their real selves to you.
And there is nothing—nothing—like realizing that we are not alone in this world and that there are other weird humans on this planet who are just like us.
Authentic connection bridges the gap between isolation and belonging.
I have always strived to be honest about who I am, but it wasn't until I was being consistently vulnerable in community that I truly began to understand how authenticity forges connection.
One of my most surprising outcomes of showing up fully, in the last year and a half especially, has been an immense growth of close friendships.
Perhaps you think there is only one best friend for you. I always did.
But now I find myself truly blessed with many close, best friends who live all over the country.
That doesn't diminish the "best" status of my original best friend. Oh my goodness, no. She is wonderful!
It means that intensely close personal relationships thrive and multiply when you share your authentic self without pretense or withholding.
That's not to say that such friendships don't take significant work, because they do. That's not to say that rejection isn't possible, because it is.
There are the initial instances when you put your heart out for them to see without knowing whether this deep part of you will be accepted.
If they reject you, the rejection is a deep personal wound, because they're rejecting a fragile and tenuous part of your identity. That kind of wound cuts us deep and it can have lasting impacts.
You might even still be licking such rejection wounds. They take time to scab over and heal. But do know this: those who rejected you—they are not your people.
Your people, when they come along, will get who you are.
“Wake up each day with a new faith that everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be. You were created with precision and it will all turn out exactly as it should.” — Kerri Verna
For all of the rejection you fear and you face, there is a far greater reward.
There will be times when you peel back a layer of your cloaked essence and your new friend looks unflinchingly upon your furry, whiskered countenance, your sharp canine teeth and your shimmering eyes.
They will say, "Me too," and you will get to see a glimpse of their own wolfish grin.