"I have trouble opening up."
When I meet him, I tell him I'm a coach, and this is the first thing he says to me.
I'm confused. This man is wide open. I can feel him and I can feel that he feels me. He is generous with his energy and he has the courage to believe that I could love him.
We met 5 minutes ago.
My confusion doesn't last, though, because it turns out to be the same old story.
He has an idea of what it means to open up to speak to a therapist or a coach. He thinks that opening up means dredging up pain, telling out loud the old stories that have haunted him all his life, hearing that he needs to change certain things about himself and his lifestyle.
He has an idea of what it means to open up to a woman romantically. He thinks that opening up means telling her how he feels all the time, being able to love a woman when and how she asks him to, committing to her vision of their relationship.
He's the one who is confused--about what it means to open up.
He hasn't been seen in his openness, he hasn't been received in his honesty the way it flows out of him, he hasn't felt respect for his way of doing things. He's been told that his beautiful vulnerability is avoidant or not good enough, and because he's never heard differently, he believes it.
But he told me, 5 minutes after meeting me, something that he feels ashamed about. "I have trouble opening up."
How much more open can you be??
This is certainly plenty open enough for a skilled practitioner like me to work magic.
I don't need to know your whole history. I don't need you to say the painful stories, and I don't have a definition of what the right habits for you will look like.
Come as you are and be as you are. I will love you as you are, and that's how the magic happens. You are open enough. You are vulnerable enough. You are sharing enough.
You are enough.