Sunday, December 16, 2012

Finding Strength in Vulnerability

Last night I listened to Brene Brown on TEDTalks. She discussed vulnerability. I listened as she explained several things I discovered in 2010 when I did an experiment in making myself more vulnerable. Her discoveries about herself so mirrored what I discovered about myself, it scared me. After it was over, I fought back the tear that slid down my cheek.

I read a blog post I wrote in early 2011 about my experiment in being more vulnerable, Vulnerability, I Once Considered You a Curse Word this morning, and realized three things. 1) I haven't come quite as far as I'd planned in the past few years, 2) I sure do like me more today than I did when I started my experiment, and 3) I find much more strength than weakness in allowing myself to be vulnerable.

I still struggle with allowing myself to be vulnerable. I fall back into old patterns of protecting myself and lose sight of the benefits of opening my truth to other people. I still have moments of intense fear that people will use my vulnerabilities against me, and sometimes they do. But, more often, I find that when I express my truth including both my strength and my vulnerabilities to people, they respond with love and acceptance. I'm getting better. I'm not sure it'll ever be easy for me to be truly vulnerable, but I can express and embrace my vulnerabilities much more readily today than I could at the beginning of 2010.

The realization that I like myself better now came as a complete surprise. Mainly because I didn't realize I didn't like myself before. Oddly, I always thought I liked myself, and in some ways I did. I just like me better now. I enjoy my own company. I've learned that my imperfections are wonderful parts of me. I've learned that I have a lot to offer the world, and that I'm responsible to offer all that to the world even when it makes me feel vulnerable.

When I take down my defenses and allow my vulnerabilities out to play, I become stronger. I'm not expending energy keeping up a facade. I'm not trying to make people like me. I stop fearing people's rejection. When I discover that the display of my vulnerabilities helps someone else, I grow as a person. When the revelation of my vulnerabilities takes away the ability of others to control me because I don't fear their judgment, I grow stronger. When I first decided to force myself to become more vulnerable, I never expected to find strength in my vulnerabilities. That has, perhaps, been the most pleasant surprise I've experienced from opening my truth to the world for reaction whether that reaction be acceptance, judgment, love, or hate. In the end, I've discovered my inner strength grows with each and every vulnerability I reveal and release...

So last night when I listened to Brene Brown, I transported back into my own journey to and through vulnerability. I cried as I realized just how much stronger and more resilient I feel today than on that rather ordinary January day when I decided to force myself to be vulnerable to see if I could find the answers to all the questions and fears in my head.

Take a listen, maybe just maybe, Brene's words will touch your life...


4 comments:

  1. "2) I sure do like me more today than I did when I started my experiment"

    Very, very cool!

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  2. Love this. I'm embarking on my own "January" and this provides much comfort and inspiration. Thanks for posting! :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm so touched you found inspiration and comfort in my words! May your "January" bring you your heart's desire!

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