What stops you from being authentic? From taking a risk and sharing who you really are with someone?

Past experience is a factor. We’ve all taken those risks and been shut down. We’ve tried to connect. Sometimes it has worked. Sometimes we have ended up feeling isolated and alone. Judging ourselves is guaranteed to keep us quiet.

Trauma specialist Dr Gabor Maté speaks about the two elements necessary for feeling safe. One is absence of threat. The other is feeling connected. We need both. We need this as children and we need it as adults as well. The Harvard study on adult development found that the most important determinant of happiness is social connection.

We all navigate this nuanced complexity of speaking out, being vulnerable and protecting ourselves.

We speak up. It may not be welcome. We are relatively skillful or we lose it. The truth is on the table. It has been said. It works out in a satisfactory way. It falls apart. People are mad. There are many possible outcomes. The bottom line is that we have spoken our truth.

We don’t speak our truth. We don’t know how it would have worked out if we had expressed ourselves.We walk away feeling we betrayed ourselves. We shame ourselves for giving in to our fear.

Connection and the risk of disconnection is high stakes. Our most important relationship, the person we must impress the most, is ourself. The person we must get to know most is ourself. The person we need to trust is ourself.

Try this inquiry.

(7 min)