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Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

Dear Ingrid

Jurre (24): “Other people say that I don’t show enough of myself. I admit that I always act as if everything is great and therefore I don’t have many real friends. What can I do to change that?”

Ingrid: Last winter, the Netherlands was watching another episode of Boer zoekt vrouw (Farmer looking for a wife). We saw how three women came for a stay over at female farmer Bertie’s place. It wasn’t much fun. There was more contact with Bertie’s French bulldog than with each other. Bertie didn’t show much of herself, Ciska decided to pack her bags and Katherine had doubts too.

Bertie didn’t allow herself to be vulnerable, which made it almost impossible to make a connection between herself and her visitors. In order to live a useful and connected life, we do have to be open, Brené Brown writes in her book The Power of Vulnerability. “We must hide ourselves no longer, but take off our armour, lay down our weapons and show ourselves.” That is scary. If you expose yourself and are honest about what you think and feel, others may then form an opinion about that. They can condemn your vision, not take your feelings serious or disagree with you. So it requires courage. It is like showing your love when you don’t know if it will be reciprocated. That is why the male and female farmers from the popular programme - before making a choice - sounded out the candidates on whom they had put their eye, to find out whether they felt any tingles too. This gave them some certainty before they had to courageously say a name.

Showing who you really are is therefore a condition for alliance and intimacy. Ara, from Connie Palmen’s novel The friendship, is an expert in that. “If I have nothing to say, then I won’t say anything, and if there is nothing to be friendly about, then I can’t be friendly,” she says. She is convinced that she will keep people at a distance by being like that. “That is exactly what you shouldn’t do,” her friend Catherina remarks. “The ideal way to keep your distance is to be nice to everyone, to do as you are supposed to do, and to hide what kind of mood you are in. Showing your mood is being intimate.”

Ingrid Candel


Brown, B. Daring Greatly; How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transform the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead,  Penguin Books



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