25 Apr Vulnerability, Life’s Greatest Dare
vul·ner·a·ble: Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; Open to attack or damage; Susceptible to physical or emotional injury; Open to censure or criticism.
No wonder we spend a lifetime trying to protect ourselves.
As Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly points out we devote our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable. I don’t know about you, but I relate.
We’ve learned to wear our masks. To just suck it up and get on with it. To hide and run away. To shun the touchy feely emotional stuff. Because it is easier to mask our feelings and emotions. As Brown points out, the perception is that vulnerability is weakness.
In her qualitative research, Brown asked people to finish the sentence: “Vulnerability is …” I decided to do a little investigation of my own. I asked a few people in my network to finish the same sentence. Here are the replies:
- Femininity and embracing love.
- A state of mind. We have the power to choose our state of mind.
- Beautiful opening of ourselves to another when in a relationship.
- Trusting people.
- Loving and giving unconditionally.
- Our ability (real or perceived) to control our own destiny.
- Necessary for being human.
- That place that resides between the wound that remains eternally exposed and the opening of ones heart by the intense caring of prodding fingers that unfold the petals, one by one.
- Not to be scared and be proud of who you are.
- Is a state of existence in which one is open to outside influences, both positive and negative. Essentially, it is being ‘open.’
- Setting boundaries, standing up for myself and not giving my power away.
- Being totally and completely yourself. Taking off the many masks we wear and allowing others to see you as you are and being willing to have them love you that way.
Powerful responses (and by the way, Brown found similar themes). Being open, healing the wounds, standing up for yourself, or not being scared are not weakness.
Vulnerability is a daily practice that is about courage and ‘strength.’ ‘Taking off the many masks’ is not easy, but it can be ‘liberating.’