Did you know the word “candid” derives from the Latin root for “extreme radiance?”
At first it sounds really beautiful - sunshine, starlight, bright and shining faces. We find ourselves completely known. This is the place where we build intimacy with one another. But then after a while the extreme radiance starts to feel a little…extreme - office fluorescents, migraines, the inquisitor’s spotlight. Some days, burying your head in a pillow in a dark room feels safer.
That’s it. I think our brains really want us to feel safe. And it really wants us to feel known. In this push and pull, we navigate our daily relationships.
"You laugh at my nerdy joke?" Lights on.
“You criticized me in front of everyone in the meeting?” Lights off.
“I’m not sure I want you to see that part of me.” Let’s dim the lights a little.
Come closer…no…too close.
It’s ok. We’re doing the Goldilocks: too hot…too cold…now that’s just right. It means we’re exploring. It means we’re in a relationship. It means we’re alive.
I think sometimes we can apply unnecessary pressure on ourselves to try to be completely open with other people. Maybe the relationship doesn’t need to dive deeply so quickly. And I think we can apply unnecessary shame for being too open with others. Like surgeons, we sometimes need those spotlights to shine into dark places so that we can heal what is wounded and birth new life.
Regardless of what lumens we choose to shine on different parts of ourselves, sturdy relationships can hold just about anything. The healthy ones want to soothe those sunburns from those extra-candid moments. And the kinder, rather than nicer, friendships are brave enough to share a flashlight so we can take an honest look at what is true about ourselves and the resources around us. Together, our eyes adjust to the brighter light, until the path forward becomes clear.
Lauren Masopust, MS, MFT Intern has extensive experience working with young adults, adolescents, and couples, and specializes in areas of trauma, identity development, and multicultural issues.