Get Out There! The Power of Vulnerability
Guess what? I’m not perfect. I get scared. I worry about my future. I want people to like me. I am afraid of loving somebody who doesn’t love me back. And I can’t stand the idea of people talking behind my back or accusing me of things I haven’t done.
These are a few of my vulnerabilities, out there for the world to see. And I’m willing to bet I’m not the only person who has these fears. We live in a vulnerable world, dealing daily with situations in which we are exposing our vulnerabilities (to ourselves if to nobody else).
When you feel vulnerable, or you’re searching for meaning in life, what do you do? Many of us "have a couple of beers and a banana-nut muffin" to dull the pain, suggests Brene Brown, a researcher-storyteller who gave one of the most powerful 20-minute TED talks I’ve ever seen.
But the unseen consequence of the numbing effect of those beers (or food, or drugs, or even medication) is the dulling of not only the pain, but the pleasure you could be experiencing in life.
Brown spent years studying the concept of vulnerability and how people who live whole-heartedly accept — and even celebrate — their vulnerabilities.
I highly encourage you to watch the video:
Among other things, Brown discusses the concepts of courage, compassion, and connection, and how they are embodied by the whole-hearted people she studied. Since watching the video, I have decided that I want to be one of those whole-hearted people.
So I’m exposing my own vulnerabilities to the people I care about. I’m re-examining what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how I want things to change (if at all). I’m not afraid to talk about some of my innermost fears and, conversely, to share my victories.
And if I feel vulnerable, I don’t reach for a glass of wine (at least not right away and not for the wrong reasons!); instead I ask myself what I’m feeling and what I can do about it.
In doing so, I’ve deepened some friendships inexplicably, and in turn had the honor of seeing a few vulnerabilities of others exposed — and nurtured.
I’ve accepted the fact that life is messy, and that leaning into feelings of discomfort leads to growth.
I’m willing to risk getting hurt to experience the joy of falling in love.
I’ll invest in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) without any knowledge of the outcome, despite the appearance of the odds being stacked against me.
And already, in exposing — and accepting — these often-hidden and painful moments, I’ve also glimpsed the euphoria that life is supposed to be all about. I am so blessed to be a vulnerable person.