A few weeks ago, I participated in a Communication Fundamentals class at Skyline Technology Solutions in Glen Burnie, Maryland. During the class,the Founder of Skyline, Brian Holsonbake, shared with us his personal life’s storywith us and whytheydeveloped a communications class at a technology company. The following is what I took away.
In today’s world, we live in a society that is engulfed in having a social presence and living up to standards that society has set upon us, causing many people to throw up barriers (walls) around themselves. Why? Because people are scared to be themselves, scared to show the world who they truly are – a human that is full of blemishes, scares, and insecurities.
As humans, we have all experienced tough situations in our lives that we rarely ever share with others. Situations such as being bullied or bullying others; getting fired from a job; failing at a marriage; losing everything from a terrible mistake; or being taken advantage of. Every one of us has a past that are full of mistakes and misfortunes that we choose to hide.
“Instead of sharing our struggles, we keep them bottled up inside because we are afraid.Afraidto show others that we are struggling andbrokenweak. Sadly,societyshames us for being vulnerable and weak.” Brian H.
During Brian’s talk, he shared an eye-opening, jaw dropping, oh crap, are you kidding me, testimony of his life as a child. I sat in my seat stunned!!! “Did he really just tell us that”, I thought to myself. The room, consisting of 18 total strangers to Brian, was speechless and we all sat in our chairs in total disbelief. I couldn’t stop thinking to myself, “How did he get from thereto where he is today.”
As Brian continued sharing his journey with us, one thing was apparent, it brought him comfort, a sense of joy, and it seemed to be very therapeutic. And not just for him, but for my classmates and myself. As I listened to his story it made me think about my past and all the things that I had experienced growing up that I never shared with anyone, because I was afraid of what the world, other people, would think or say about me.
“I findit interestingand therapeutic when I open up and share my story with people. Peopleoftenthank me for being sovulnerableand transparent. Many ofthemsharethat my willingness to be vulnerablehelps them feelmore comfortable sharing some of their struggleswith peoplethey trust.“ -Brian H.
Therapeutic! I never thought about that. How opening up to someone could be therapeutic for both myself and them. But it makes sense. Opening up allows others to know there are people out in the world struggling just like them. And that is comforting! Don’t we, as humans, all just want to know that there are others going through similar tough situations as us? Admittingly, listening to Brian was therapeutic for me. Sitting in my chair stunned at what he was saying, I realized the insecurities I have inside don’t need to hold me back. In reality, I need to share and allow them to be therapeutic to others.
“I am too lazy to try and maintain the image that our world says we should live to. I find it much easier to just be transparent, vulnerable and real with people. Takes less energy and life feels much richer. Brian H.
When it comes to false images I couldn’t agree more with Brian. Our society has shamed people so harshly for being open and showing weakness, that a majority of people are too scared to be themselves. In order to be comforted, people throw up a false image of who they are so others do not judge or shame them. You can see it all over social media every day. People posting images and comments that reflect who they want to be, not who they are, based on what the world thinks they should be.
Being open and vulnerablein the short term can be painfuland uncomfortablebut it often leads to more joy, confidence, andhopeto oneself. In addition, it often brings those feelings to others.Being open is one of the key elements to enable you as an individual to enjoy life.Knowing that you in reality have nothing to beashamed of. Everyone has strugglesand that is in fact what connects us as humans.
So, I challenge you. Go out and be ashamed and stop living behind the mask that society says you should live by. Do it today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. Not only will you grow as a person, but you will be changing the lives of others by bringing them healing and a sense of hope.