Last week I threw the word vulnerability around quite a bit. I used myself as guinea pig and exposed some very vulnerable moments to you. (If you missed it, click here to catch up). You may have been thinking, “That’s well and good for you Lorna, but I’m going to take a pass on that vulnerability stuff—it’s just not for me.” Maybe it felt too exposed, too risky. If I could ask you to stick with me, I would like to talk today about why vulnerability is worth it for all of us. Please walk through this with me and perhaps you will reconsider.
Do you sometimes find yourself feeling awkward and out of place? Do you second guess your choices and your actions? Do you have fears and self doubt that make you uncomfortable in your skin sometimes? Do you feel like there are always social events going on that you are not included in? Are you constantly replaying conversations in your head, thinking that you said the wrong thing? If so—You’re not alone. We have all felt those things in this lifetime—heck in this week! Did you know that, according to Brene’ Brown’s book, DARING GREATLY, in order to feel JOY, we first have to be completely vulnerable. Think on this for a moment – allowing one’s self to be authentically vulnerable will lead to feeling JOY. “Wholehearted Living”, as Brene’ calls it, equals living courageously in a vulnerable state at all times. She teaches us to “be bigger than our fears, anxiety, and even shame.” Amazing thoughts, aren’t they?
But what does it mean, really? How does it look on a day to day basis to be vulnerable? Some examples:
- Allowing your child to walk a quarter mile to school and not thinking of twelve different ways they could be abducted or hit by a car.
- Letting other people take the reigns and trusting the outcome will be alright, even if you don’t control every little thing.
- Feeling true love for the people in your life without thinking of what could go wrong.
- Taking a new class and being a beginner—no matter how silly you might look.
- Going to an event with all strangers and introducing yourself openly and easily.
- Speaking your mind—even when your opinion is different from everyone else’s.
- Telling a friend that they have done something that hurt you.
- Putting boundaries on your time and sticking to them.
- Being honest, no matter what (coming from a place of love).
These examples magnify how much of ourselves we hold back by not being vulnerable. When I was first introduced to this concept, I realized that my authenticity was so buried that when I spoke to people I finished almost all my sentences with a little chuckle. This was so that I could always say, “ just kidding” if I thought I had offended someone. That was how uncomfortable I was in my skin. I doubted practically everything out of my mouth. (isn’t that sad?) Behaving this way made me feel disconnected from my own life—I was not living my truth. Once I realized what I was doing, it was obvious that I needed to change—that is why I embraced vulnerability. Now I live my truth—whether it offends anyone or not.
Vulnerability allows us to step forward, warts and all, to say, “This is me, take me or leave me.” We get to be who we are, no apologies. It also allows us to trust that things are going to work out. This leads us to feel strong, empowered and full of gratitude. Brene teaches, “Mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite GRACE, JOY, and GRATITUDE into our lives”. Don’t we all deserve that?
Vulnerability will feel uncomfortable at first. But once you get the hang of it, you will never look back. Nothing feels better than to let go of the façade and to be who you truly are.
I want to finish with another quote from Brene. It sums up what I have tried to say today. Take some time to really think about it. Are you willing to give it a shot? Leave me your comments below and if you would like help in letting go of the façade and regaining control of your beautiful life, I’d love to walk down that path next to you.
“Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and shame dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.” –from Daring Greatly, by Brene’ Brown