In the editorial at the beginning of the most recent issue of Exponent II, Kimberly Burnett talks about a moving Relief Society meeting she recently attended. The Relief Society President was teaching, and she began by explaining that she was very nervous and also not feeling well. Kimberly goes on to describe how strong the spirit was that day, and how she believes that the president’s openness about her weaknesses is what invited the spirit and enabled the sisters to open up.
I have seen it before: people confess their weaknesses; hearts are softened; people grow closer. Probably that’s behind my own urge to confess my weaknesses to others all the time. I want to break down barriers and encourage closeness. And when others reciprocate by confessing their own weaknesses, I feel closer to them.
I can see Kimberly’s point. I definitely agree we could use more openness in our church relationships. But I feel a little uncomfortable about this tendency of mine. Because when I meet people who either do not have weaknesses (well, not ones that can be shared, I guess) or who just prefer not to share them with me, I actually have a harder time getting close to them. Women who prefer to keep their struggles to themselves, or who simply aren’t struggling at the time, come across to me as harder to know—or even, gulp, less worth knowing. And that’s wrong, of course.
What I want to do is be able to be equally close and nurturing with another woman regardless of whether she has any problems (or at least wants to share them with me). What if, for example, Kimberly’s RS president was a confident woman and excellent teacher and public speaker? Would the spirit still have been able to come into the room? Is humility a requirement in order for the spirit to draw people closer? Is confidence a lack of humility? And, more importantly, how can I get to feel closer to the women in my life who don’t care to open up to me about their own struggles and insecurities? There has to be a way.
I hate that it’s more easy for me to like and love another sister when I know her pains. (As if it makes it so that I don’t have to feel insecure around her anymore; she’s “just like me.”)