authentic, authenticity, belonging, Brene Brown, connection, connections, deeper, emotional, fear, freedom, human, insight, love, Parker Palmer, power, research, risk, spiritual, TED talk, truth, undivided life, vulnerability, vulnerable, walls, well-being, worth, worthiness
The power of vulnerability is precisely what this blog celebrates.
My commitment to share my authentic self is often challenged by the extent to which I am willing to be vulnerable in these blog posts. It is, however, a useful exercise. Even a spiritual one. Being continuously tested in this way causes me to reexamine my commitment to the “undivided life.”
Several of you recommended that I watch Brene Brown’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability, thinking that I would appreciate it. And you were obviously right.
Brene Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.
If you take the time to watch these incredibly insightful 20 minutes, you will understand what I mean when I declare that the more vulnerable I allow myself to be, the stronger I become. The truth is that presenting my authentic self to the world inevitably leads to deeper, more authentic connections with others. And these connections are absolutely, indisputably soul-nourishing and life-giving.
If I could share just one crucial contributor to the vast improvement I have experienced in my emotional, spiritual and physical well-being over the last few years, the power of vulnerability would be the essence of it. The more I embrace the fact that I am worthy of love, the more that I choose to risk myself with others, the more freedom I embody. I have experienced this paradox: Taking risks eradicates fear.
I still throw up walls, particularly with the one I love the most. Clearly, there are yet some difficult roads to climb. But by placing my intentions in full view here, I commit willingly to more exposure. Because surely he will read this and know. Know that I am admitting that I have more work to do. So the blog helps me to face my truth and to bring my misgivings and desires out into the open. And take the first step by saying, ” I’m sorry for my insecurities and fears and walls. I have hidden myself from you. I no longer want to hide.”
So hard. But even harder is the next step: To summon the courage to go and say these words face-to-face, looking into the eyes of the beloved.
Yet, this is something I am very willing to do. Because I know firsthand the power of vulnerability.
Here’s just a snippet of the talk’s transcript. Go ahead, watch the video.
I said, “Well, I have a vulnerability issue. And I know that vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love. And I think I have a problem, and I need some help.”
But there’s another way, and I leave you with this. 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.” And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place I believe that says, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.
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