You make the world a gentler place. Are you that person that always goes the extra mile for others? You should read this letter.
Dear big-hearted one,
You are the woman in the locker room that sighs she literally had to drag herself to the gym. You are the man who shares his sadness over his dog’s passing with a neighbor, without holding back. You are the divorced mother who, when she hears another mother say with a cracking voice ‘I’ll see you in three days, daddy will pick you up’, confides how she struggled with the same thing and that things will be better, ‘trust me’.
You’re bad at keeping a distance, and you don’t see why you should. Before you know it, a simple chat turns into a personal conversation and at the job, being businesslike isn’t your strong suit. You want to talk to someone or you don’t, but you won’t talk about the weather.
People sometimes interpret your confidentiality as exhibitionism or attention seeking. They find it inappropriate that you show yourself the way you are, even if they just got to know you. Some people feel uncomfortable with your openness; perhaps because it invites them to share something true themselves. You, kind person wearing your heart on your sleeve, look for real contact and not everyone is open to that. You have surely noticed.
Being open-hearted, without an agenda, is simply being a human being among other human beings. The word says it all: you open your heart and share something that’s true, vulnerable or comforting. It breaks barriers and shows that, under the surface, all of us are simply messing about.
I understand you, dear open-hearted one. As a writer, I am used to share things coming from a deep place. I don’t choose to do that because I think my personal story is that special, or because I’m that special, but because I know that deep down we all struggle with the same things. I want to be almost inappropriately honest, because I know that only my heart can reach the reader’s heart. When writing, I dig deep inside myself, and deeper, until I find a universal human layer. There isn’t a petty feeling of mine that isn’t recognizable to others. If readers think, after reading my articles, ‘Compared to her, I’m doing quite OK’, I’m happy.
I’m glad that you are here. There are so many people who only show their strong, cheerful and sensible side. All these shiny, impermeable outsides only bump into each other in public or keep a polite distance. By sharing your insecurities, newly found insights, little successes and failures without holding back, you make the schoolyard a better place, birthday parties and pub nights more fun. You bring a depth that’s valuable, and that can be healing, when others recognize themselves in an emotion that was hidden deeply but finally gets some room. Together with you, ally and passer-by at the same time.
Please keep making your confessions frankly, for as long and as often you want and in any place you want. Sharing ends loneliness. Sharing removes shame. Sharing makes people reconcile with their own difficult emotions, sharpens their vision and doubles joy. You make the world a gentler place.
With love and regard for who you are,
Text: Susan Smit - Photo: Brannon Naito