By Tryphena Perumalla-Gagnon
Women’s Panel Contributor

In this most recent episode of See Hear Love, the women’s panel sat down to discuss what it means to be truly known, in today’s day and age. The consensus was that for us to feel known, is to be able to be emotionally naked and unashamed in front of another. In a way where you can be your true self, in all your eccentricities and vulnerabilities while knowing you are loved and respected, not in spite of but because of it all. 

As I’ve been sitting with this idea this last week, I have been really wrestling with what this looks like in our current culture. In some ways, we are more connected and “known” than ever before. We have a curated platform in which we are given agency in how we present ourselves to the world. What images do we post, what parts of our day are worthy to be stories? Is the aesthetic beautiful enough and does it match the vibe we are attempting to portray? Is what I’m about to reveal to the word tantalizing enough to gain me more followers and insuite a larger platform? But in all of this, are we truly known? Or are we just depicting a curated highlight reel to the world that leaves us feeling lonelier than ever? Do we truly get to live “naked and unashamed” in this social space in 2022 or are we left with more barriers, be it social media or not that prevent us from being truly known?

Now please hear me, in no way am I bashing on social media here. I am a huge user of many different platforms, and grateful for the connection it gives me to friends and family that I wouldn’t normally have. I love the education that happens, where I am privy to thoughts and ideologies that I may not normally consider. Most of all I love the creative outlet it makes space for, to tell our own stories and use our voice. However, the question I am merely asking is, Is this truly satisfying our human desire to be known, in that “naked and unashamed way”. 

As a parent to two young children, one of the parenting strategies that we have ascribed to, is the idea of attachment theory. On a fundamental level, attachment theory is the idea that within the first years of a child’s life, the primary guardian or guardians has the ability to help a child create a healthy foundation for creating attachments later in life. With a guardian holding space for a child’s emotions and needs when they are young, it allows the child to have a strong foundation to develop into an adult that is neither anxious or avoidant in the way they relate to the world.

Now you may be asking, how does this all relate to us feeling known? Reflecting on attachment theory leaves me asking the question, do I truly need all these people to know me or is it really only a few significant individuals in my life. Do I really need a larger “platform” to feel secure? If a child’s development can be significantly impacted by the role of one or two primary individuals, is the same true as I get older? Many would say that the older they get, the more they realize that it is not the quantity of friends but the quality. Are there a couple individuals in my life who I feel safe enough to let know the true me? People I feel safe enough around to be vulnerable, to reveal not only the highlight reel to but the bloopers and fails. Do I know they love me enough that I give them access to see the real me? To speak into my life, to call out the Image of God within me?

I wonder what this looks like in your life? Are there people in your life that know the true you and hold space for you and all the parts of you? My prayer for each of us is that not only are we able to be aware of the people that can be safe in our life, but also be beacons of safety to those around us.