I’m rather fond of anything Brene Brown Ph.D. writes or talks about. Her TED talk on Vulnerability has gone viral and she speaks about this topic in all her books. She reports that “Vulnerability is the core of fear, shame, and fear of not belonging. But it is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging and of love.” I read a quote many years back which I used to have on a sticky note in my kitchen for years by Freud that states that “Out of our vulnerabilities come to our greatest strengths”. This quote was very powerful and helped me focus on an attitude of faith that all I was struggling with and through in my journey of authenticity and healing would yield those benefits in the end. But for all of us who breathe into our vulnerability and feel its intensity, it does not feel powerful at the time. It feels very humbling. It cries it rages, it wants to fall apart and walk away… run away
The thing about vulnerability is that it has a sense of immediacy and of being taken over by it. It demands of us to stay present to its intensity. If we don’t move to shut it down, or drown it out with the ego’s voice, but dare to feel it with kindness, gentleness, and compassion, we may discover that in feeling so much and in feeling with compassion we are led by that compassion to be fully present to ourselves. We can then listen deeply to ourselves and as a result of others.
We can’t plan for vulnerability. It tends to blindside us. Betrayal, death, illness, breakups, job loss are all experiences that leave us feeling confused, uncertain, anguished, denial, fearful, exposed and raw, Vulnerable.
Brene Brown in her TED talk reports that what is needed to be vulnerable and not shut down or numb out is COURAGE… We get many practices runs with the vulnerability that may not feel great but ultimately is a great teacher is coping with the biggies in our life or being able to stay present to anothers pain. Life is all about practice; there is no such thing as perfect, just practice. So in practicing vulnerability we can choose to also practice courage and in so doing become transformed. Just a fair warning. This is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it is the daring act of courage which creates a whole heart. You then become wholehearted.
Allow yourself to be in your own experience, manage your own experience of being afraid of being exposed or hurt by practicing being present to yourself. And breath – right – in – to – it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, to share, to open up to the rawness of life, even as you feel like closing in. Because life is a gift and we never know when it will end.