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A while back… I wrote a post about the three things all people need… to be heard… to be understood… to be loved.

I stand by that list today… but I want to add one to it… to be known. Not just to have people recognize us on the street… but to know us at the core of who we are.

Truly… to be known… may be the culmination of the first three… and I don’t think that we can be known without being… heard… understood… loved… but I do believe it is deeper and separate.

I’m reminded of a dementia patient from many years ago… during a home visit… she brought out her high school graduation picture… her driver’s license… and a cookbook that was published by a Church she once attended. As she handed me these items… she told me that she just wanted somebody to know her before she died. Of course… I explored the items with her… allowing her to tell me the significance of each one.

It was a powerful lesson… one that has stuck with me.

And today… as I sit here at my computer… I have to wonder… who really knows me? I know there are some… but it probably wouldn’t require fingers and toes to add them all up. And… there are those… who love me… and think they know me… and… yet… they don’t really… because… no fault of theirs… I hide myself at a very deep level… I always have.

Why?

Well… the short answer is… unworthiness… shame… fear… not-enoughness. Okay… that really wasn’t a short answer… but it all boils down to… if people really knew me… would they reject me… and just in case they might… it’s better if I just keep me to myself.

I think that’s ultimately why I created Bertha… instead of just writing from my point of view… much less vulnerable to let it be hers.

I think that’s why I’ve been so content… to live alone… and not really put myself out there… the cats rarely reject me… unless I’m late with morning tuna… and someone else might.

But… you see… the thing is… I am not exempt from… the need… to be known… to be heard… to be understood… to be loved. I want all of that… and… I’m learning… that I can’t really have those things unless I am willing to be open and vulnerable. Maybe it’s Bertha whispering in my ear… get back out there… meet people… do things… have fun… sell books… write more honest blogs. Or… maybe it’s just my truth bubbling up… it’s time… it’s time to be me… to be all of me.

Whatever it is… my intention is to be more vulnerable with you my readers… with you my dear friends… with you wonderful people that I haven’t met yet… I plan to show up… fully as me… all of me.

Will you join me in being known… being open… being vulnerable? I’d love to hear what that looks like for you in the comments.

Jane