Oh how I love my girlfriends. And yes, the two I refer to here are both professional motivational speakers, so you KNOW they are fun, funny, high energy and full of fantastic ideas, but it's more than that. They are the the kind of friends with whom you feel really, really safe. Safe to share your deepest hopes, dreams, fears and foibles.
Kelly Swanson, Polly Pitchford and I spent four jam-packed days together laughing, talking, playing and working. And I kept wondering, as the days went on, why it felt so good to be in their space. After a while, I figured it out. They are two of the most non-judgemental, loving women I have ever known. So non-judgemental that we all found ourselves sharing things about ourselves that we probably don't often share with very many people.
And that made me think. When people trust me enough to reveal to me who they truly are, it makes me feel like they have given me a sacred gift. And I want to protect that gift by suspending any and all judgement that may creep into my head. I'm not sure I'm so great at it all the time, but I was given an opportunity this past weekend not only to practice it, but to experience first hand the positive results. Relationships are strengthened and people grow closer together.
I guess the moral of the story is that if we want really great relationships then we need to….trust, and be trustworthy. 1) Trust that you really can be vulnerable with your good friends and they will not only love you in spite of it, but may actually love you BECAUSE of it, and 2) give them a very safe space to do the same with you.