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The Right Words: Finding Empathy In Fearful Vulnerability

There's a bit of fear that inhabits every truth that makes up who we are. It's a fear that is shared within every honest breath we give back to the world and undermines the self-assured faith we hold within ourselves.
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There's a bit of fear that inhabits every truth that makes up who we are. It's a fear that is shared within every honest breath we give back to the world and undermines the self-assured faith we hold within ourselves.

It inhabits a small but powerful place within each of us and is fed by self-doubt and a relentless search to find the perfect words that may bridge the gap of indifference. Such fear dwells within our inner dialogue and stems from the very core of what makes us who we are -- that in which we feel makes us different. We keep silent because of the fear that we might be misunderstood or that our honesty will bare only our weakness. Silence protects our hearts while stifling the voice that threatens to expose our vulnerability.

An Ever-Changing Journey

It was a difficult decision to finally open up about my life with cystic fibrosis those two years ago, letting those I love and the world in. But I had little idea that the most difficult thing would actually be finding the adequate words to do so -- to make it understandable, embraceable, yet most importantly, relatable. To not create a platform for pity but an avenue for empathy that extends far beyond myself. How can I relate a universal feeling or experience to this life I've been given with CF? How can I translate this ever-changing experience into words that may connect with the heart and lives of those in which I'm sharing? Not to expose this life I live but to honestly share this beautiful life I am gifted -- showing that the details of each of our lives may differ but that the difficulties we face, the beautiful moments we celebrate, and love we all feel are rooted in the same breath that sustains each of us? Not to highlight that in which makes us different from one another but to reflect a uniting honesty for which we are each wholly made?

In this life with CF there are often more questions than I have answers to and a small but powerful inner fear silences me from voicing my own self-doubts, and the ruminating questions that stir within me. In such self-doubt and questioning I feel most vulnerable.

"What if the right words escape me?"

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It's something I've always struggled with -- finding the words to translate the embodiment of CF and its effects to those I've entrusted to be a part of this journey. I realize there are no "right words" to accomplish such a task, only a life that exudes honesty and is built upon gratitude for every beautiful breath. Within each one of those gifted breaths is a fearful vulnerability that challenges my initial inclination to retreat within the safety of my silence and perfected façade. But I relentlessly continue to search for the right and honest words, knowing that each one ignites hopeful possibility that can only exist within the unique vulnerability that makes me truly who I am.

The Right Words

Every single day, today more than ever, we are each given a choice: to be defined by the small yet silencing fear that dwells within every breath we are gifted, forever searching for the right words. Or, we can live in a place of hope-filled vulnerability that openly gives empathy the chance to thrive -- trusting that the right words are always present and alive within us, just waiting to be shared.