Reflections on Love as Seen Through an Interpersonal Lens
With the decision made to write a blog post every Wednesday of 2015, I’ve found it easier and easier to see inspiration in my everyday life. What once was a sleepy eyed conversation with my roommate sparks an entire idea for a future post. Even my classes at college are playing into this!
One of these courses, Interpersonal Communications, is a required part of my Communication Studies degree. Taught by my advisor and one of my favorite professors, our class revolves around partner discussions, book readings, and even applying our knowledge to old television shows.
The first book we read was The Heart of the 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. I spent one Saturday morning reading the book and afterwards found myself taking the online test. [Check it out here]!
I learned that my primary love language is quality time and how that affects my interpersonal relations. I flipped through the pages of my planner, landing on the Wednesday closest to Valentine’s Day. I jotted “Love Languages” under the word “blog” as a reminder to write about that today.
All week I’d been wondering how I could tie that in—if at all. Then yesterday, in class, we talked about something totally different. And that’s when I had an idea.
Self-disclosure is defined as the accelerated growth in familiarity, closeness, and vulnerability in a relationship. As we dove into this topic and related it back to our own interpersonal relationships, our professor said,
“Once you say it, you can’t take it back. It’s out there.”
It sounded so menacing and scary—as though opening ourselves up to another person could potentially be a fatal mistake. Now that’s not to say there are times I haven’t wished I could take back something I said. In fact, those times happen more frequently then I can count. And certainly, there is something interesting about knowing that someone with whom you used to be close still knows all your secrets, regardless of the fact that you are seemingly strangers now.
However, there is something that is beautifully okay about vulnerability. Yes, disclosing a personal backstory is a big step in any relationship. But there is something pure and good about allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
One of my favorite Ted Talks is called The Power of Vulnerability. Watch it here! In the talk, Brene Brown says:
“They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful.”
I know there’s no reason to spill your life story on the first date. But there is also no reason to put up too many defensives that your light can’t shine through. You have goodness all about you, regardless of your history.
It is true; once you say something, you will never be able to take it back. And that is one of the reasons it is incredibly important to think about our words.
But we should worry a little bit less about our stories.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Allow yourself to be real.
Allow yourself to be raw.
But most importantly…
Allow someone in.
They just might be what you’ve always needed.
On behalf of The Smile Project, I hope everybody has a safe, happy, and healthy Valentine’s Day.