Today is a good day. I survived my first moments of public nakedness (launching my blog for all the world to see). And it got me thinking…

Being physically naked is something that’s typically private. And shared only with the person (persons?) you feel closest to. In fact, getting naked is certainly one way to draw someone closer to you.

That kind of expression in a public arena is a whole other world that I’m not about to comment on. So, I’ll merely say to all the physically-naked-in-public people: to each his or her own. (And rock on!)

However, there’s definitely a striptease of sorts that we could all benefit from doing. A I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours kind of emotionally naked thing. And it can draw us together in a really powerful way.

It starts with releasing ourselves from concern with what others think of us. (Simple, right? I could write volumes on that one sentence.) Then, free of that concern, using our energy to explore who we are and what we need or want from others. Finally, you put it out there.

Example: Recently, I was feeling a particular brand of lonely that I hadn’t experienced before. It was a sinking, sad, hollow feeling.

I realized that many of my friendships were failing. I love so completely and totally (and I think of my friends all.the.time!), but I was stinking at the reaching out stuff. I thought of texting but didn’t. I wanted to plan a game night but never extended an invite. I needed to talk to someone but never picked up the phone. (I had richer relationships with my friends playing out in all my dreamed-up scenarios and activities in my mind than I did in reality.)

I wasn’t reaching out because I assumed that everyone’s lives were so busy that they didn’t have time for me. I drilled down into how I was feeling until I reached what I believed was the naked truth (you knew that was coming, right?!). I concluded that my friends didn’t have time for me because they didn’t really like me. I didn’t think I was enough. I was a second- or third-tier friend.

Wait. What a bummer that I would think that way about myself! It made me sad because really, I am AWESOME, and I know I’m worthy of someone’s time. But that’s where we go when we’re low. We lay ourselves down and start pulling all the muck around us up on top of us. We stuff in in our mouths, in our ears. We cover our eyes with it. We wallow in our own shit…until we realize that it’s shit and we have a better choice to make.

I’m good enough. I am enough. Period. People just don’t tend to call someone who never calls them. I wasn’t calling. People don’t tend to reach out to someone who never reaches out to them. I wasn’t reaching out. Yet I expected my friends to be lighting up my phone and inbox.

That’s ridiculous. What…everything isn’t about me? It took stripping down my own thinking to realize that I was causing my loneliness. Self-inflicting it. And shifting the blame to everyone else. The bottom line acknowledgement for me: if you want friends, be a friend.

So what did I do? I tossed aside any concern for how it would sound or what people would think. And I put it out there that I was lonely. I started talking with my friends, having conversations about how I felt, what was going on with me, what I needed from them. And I shared my weaknesses. And I was vulnerable. And I stripped myself down with them and asked for their renewed friendship.

I haven’t looked back. I’m actively working on my end of the friendships. I’m not feeling lonely, and some of my relationships have grown even closer. It just took me breaking down my own walls, standing toe-to-toe with myself to get to the truth. I’m worthy. I’m enough. I’m a top-shelf, name-brand, limited-edition kind of friend…when I make the effort to be.

Lessons learned: I should never doubt my own worth. And to have good friendships, I will continue to put forth the effort to be a good friend. (Albeit a naked one.)
friends