Vulnerability: Not a Weakness

Maybe it’s the new rain. Maybe it’s the new year. Whatever the reason, recently I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability. In particular, becoming more vulnerable again. 2014 was spent trying to find my true happiness, to become stronger than ever, and to be more self-confident. Mission accomplished! It was a pretty kick-ass year. However, somewhere in the journey to become a warrior, I also started to fiercely protect my heart and shield myself from pain. I became fearful of being “vulnerable and weak.”
But now it’s time to take down the walls. Because I’m learning that vulnerability isn’t a weakness. It’s a strength. 

Luckily, there’s a wealth of existing wisdom on this topic.
Quotes on Vulnerability:
  • “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.” -Brené Brown
  • “The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.” -Brené Brown
  • “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
    -C.S. Lewis
(Amazing) TEDTalk on Vulnerability: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability
Brené Brown, a researcher who has spent over 10 years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and
shame shares her humorous and inspiring insights on “The Power of Vulnerability.” 18.5 million views on this particular TedTalk, and counting!
Highlights from Brené’s talk:
  • “In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen…really seen.”
  • “We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability. The problem is — and I learned this from the research — that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle.”
  • “This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.”

Let’s remove the shields…take down the walls…and be seen.

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