I recently spent a weekend with four girlfriends at our lake house. We had two full days of talking, no makeup, more talking, healthy snacks, more talking, gourmet dinners and wine, more talking, and sitting around a big firepit in the evening for more talking. It was a time of transparency, laughter, deeper connections and praise to the One who gave us the precious gift of friends.
As gorgeous as each of these women are on the outside, they are even more beautiful on the inside. What makes them this way is their strength, their perseverance in trials and their tender hearts as they regard each chapter of their lives as times of growth, not setbacks. Each one of us so different, but also the same. We shared our journeys that brought us to that magical spot at a time when each of us needed rest and nourishment for our bodies and souls.
As I look back on our special weekend, I am moved by the profound value of transparency. The vast majority of women spend most of their time wearing masks, trying to hide their flaws, their hurts and the mistakes of their past.
We want to look our best to the world, when inside we might be depressed and falling apart. We fear being judged so we bury our shame, guilt and imperfections so everyone will like us more. The problem is, the more we hold it all in, the more our self-worth deteriorates. It feels so good to let it out.
One friend in particular always looks like a million dollars when I see her, but her life story reveals a woman of steel. She divorced her first husband, who was an alcoholic, raised a rebellious son as a single mom, rejoiced when he finally got his life together and grieved when his life was cut short from a massive asthma attack at the age of 20. Her second marriage didn’t work out either, and now she has finally found love with a man who truly adores her. No one would suspect she’d had such a roller coaster ride, this stunning woman in her 60’s. Now she is feeling called to share it with women who can relate to her story.
In some way or another, all of us had been deeply affected by our mothers: mothers who were verbally abusive, emotionally absent or unequipped to fulfill the motherhood role. As stories flowed, we discussed how being “unmothered daughters” had affected us through the years, and still does. (If this resonates with you, read my message on motherless daughters here) Once again, the vulnerability of the group led to deeper bonds and the realization that no matter what we look like on the outside, we all have “back stories.” Those stories, while sometimes tragic, are somewhat comforting to us because deep down we want to find acceptance and unconditional love from other women who are just like us—flawed but resilient.
I encourage you to spend some time with friends. Not just over coffee or lunch, but some getaway time when you can open up and share what’s going on in your life. Take off the masks and get real. Create deeper bonds; experience unconditional love and know you are surrounded by a world full of imperfect women. Choose transparency over perfection. You never know whose life you might change in the process. Make life count.
I am looking forward to “talking” with you here on 1010 Park Place. Please ask me any question and let me know how I can serve you best!
Want to ask Susan your most intimate questions and have her address it in a future blog post? We keep everything anonymous, so ask those bold questions, ladies!
I’m enjoying your posts so much, Susan. This one really resonated with me, I’ve been so much more willing to show up as the real me the last couple of years – to let go of the mask – and it’s led to a much deeper connection with both family and friends. Esther xx
It’s so important to be able to show our vulnerable selves. I know of so many women who seemed perfect who have shattered under the stress of keeping everything hidden. Lovely post.
We need our good friends because they know our histories, and they hold us accountable. I don’t know about everyone else, but sometimes I need that. Good, really good and trusted women friends are like family. Great post! xoxo, Brenda
I love the transparency concept as you describe it here. May I continue to connect with women who are willing to be this way with me!
I do think that, the older we get, the more we are able to be transparent and honest. We are not so caught up in bowing to the world’s demands, but instead we care more about what’s real and lasting. Our friendships can be life giving, and we must commit to spending time with those who love us unconditionally, even with no makeup on!