Emotionally Naked

August 10, 2015

Personal Growth

As Max was sharing with me the story of his life, he became increasingly honest, open, and vulnerable. At one point he said,

“It feels like I’m naked.”

“Not a familiar condition for you,” I suggested.

“No, not at all. It feels . . .” Long pause.

“Uncomfortable?” I asked.

“Yes, but also, I don’t know . . .”

“Like a relief.”

“Yes! It is.”

To some degree we’ve all been emotionally wounded, some of us to the point of being crippled. We want someone to help, but we have extensive experience with people only making our wounds worse. So we protect ourselves, hiding the nature and severity of our pain. This is understandable but also counter-productive.

Imagine that you have been involved in an accident and are bleeding from several wounds, not all of which you can even see because of the prevalence of the blood covering your skin. You go to an emergency room, but when the physician enters the room, you tightly clutch your thick, full-length trench coat tightly to your body, refusing to open it. The doctor explains the need for you to allow him to see you before he can help, but you refuse to cooperate.

It’s obvious that we need to expose our physical wounds in order to get help for them, and it is similarly necessary for us to be emotionally exposed before we can begin the process of healing. I’m certainly not recommending that we get naked with everyone, but if we find someone who gives some evidence of being trustworthy, it’s certainly worth taking a chance to be examined as we are. The alternative is to stay in whatever unhappiness is affecting us.

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