I was having an interesting discussion early last week with a delightful young person whom I had just met when the topic of intimate, vulnerable conversation came up and how it can seem difficult to come by these days. As we were parting ways after our short time together, something I heard a while back from Richard Rohr in an episode of the On Being podcast came to mind. I paraphrased as best I could in the moment and have since referred to the podcast’s transcript for Rohr’s precise sentiment: “Vulnerability transforms you. You can’t be in the presence of a truly vulnerable, honestly vulnerable person and not be affected. I think that’s the way we are meant to be in the presence of one another.”
I believe he’s right, for when one feels comfortable and safe enough to open up a bit and share something authentic about oneself with a fellow human being, it’s a true gift, as it gives the other the permission to do the same. And in the end, isn’t that all any of us are really seeking: the opportunity to be seen and accepted for who we are?