I met this guy online.
I read his blogs and more than his thoughts, I liked his writing style, the way he expressed himself.
We started talking, first through comments and then we exchanged numbers.
In few weeks we became really good friends. We could easily connect with each other.
But there was a problem –
He speaks English very well, but he cannot speak Hindi so well.
And let me tell you – I don’t speak English fluently. It’s different while writing blogs, you get time to think and edit.
But I don’t have much experience of speaking in English. All my friends understand Hindi and Marathi. So you see… I don’t have that much opportunity to speak English in my daily life.
So when he offered to talk on call, I was really scared!😨
(What will he think of me when he realises I cannot speak fluently in English? would he continue to talk to me? I don’t want to loose his friendship.. Shit! I should’ve practiced this.. How can I be so dumb?! I am clearly not enough, I am ashamed of myself )
I couldn’t figure out what to do. But I decided I should be honest with him and let him see my flaws.
It was hard. I thought I might loose him, loose our friendship.
But I made a choice. I had two options – Be fake and hide and continue with him or Be authentic and vulnerable and risk loosing him.
I chose the second option.
Finally, we talked on call, I told him I’m not so good at speaking English.. and to my surprise… he understood me and didn’t belittle me
(Actually I thought he was a nice guy and had this feeling that he won’t judge me.. turns out.. I was right!)
I did most of the talk in Hindi, I told him I’m comfortable with it and he said he understood Hindi. He replied in English. That was weird actually… Haha…
But that was a really fun conversation! We spoke many times after that and now I’m practicing speaking in English with him and he’s trying to improve his Hindi with me.
Now he could have judged me for not speaking well in English and made himself feel good…. But he didn’t. He understood what it meant to not be able to speak a language fluently (as he had problems with Hindi)
So instead of making me feel bad about myself, he chose to be vulnerable about his flaws and lent me a helping hand.
Why I chose to share this?
Well I am reading a book of Bernè Brown, she’s a shame and vulnerability researcher.
And this incident resonated with what she had shared…
The solution to being stuck in shame is not to denigrate others stuck just like us, but to join hands and pull free together.
He literally did this for me. Not being able to speak a widely used language brings shame, but it can be overthrown if we share our own story and support each other.
If we’re going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light.
– Bernè Brown
Okay, so this wasn’t example of extreme shame and distress, but you get the point.
That’s more important! 🙂