“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”Brené Brown
Brené Brown has been the champion for stepping into your vulnerability. I have listened to her books and at the time made me feel inspired to share more of myself. I did this in my romantic relationships – or should I say in the beginning of what I hoped would be romantic relationships. Opening up, showing myself to the person I was getting to know. Letting them see not only the light beaming from me but also the wounds I carried. And I can tell you it didn’t work too well. Many times I had opened up only to be cast off. I remained hopeful. I kept my heart open, despite how much it was hurting. Until one day it felt like I had found that someone who saw my light, my wounds and loved me anyway. Being open, being vulnerable and still being loved back is truly one of life’s most magical feelings. That was until it wasn’t.
Now vulnerability is taking on a completely different meaning for me. Being open and honest to share my wounds with the world around me it something new and different. I have for the longest time had a ‘Superwomen’ complex. You know that I can do all, be all, endure anything and still have a smile on my face kind of life. This lead me down a path of unhappiness. I was continually searching but never happy with where I was. Didn’t us women need to ‘have it all’ and do it with a smile on our faces? This was not sustainable and a crashed and burnt.
It was the wake up call I needed to do something different in the way I showed up to the world. I needed to take time to rest. To appreciate what was around me. To participate in life again. I needed to show that I did sometimes need help, that I did hurt, that I did need caring and compassion. I needed to show some vulnerability. Cue Brené Brown and the power of vulnerability.
This obviously did not come naturally, it takes time to change the habit of a lifetime. It was certainly a process. I found it easier to open to some of those around me. I did also feel that now I had this new found knowledge that people would just be able to see me needing help and offer it. This is not what being vulnerable is about. That was but another lesson I have learnt.
My first real step into the arena was after my miscarriage. So many people do not talk about loosing a baby. Yet I knew I didn’t want to hide it. I wasn’t going to be carrying around a sign advertising it but if something came up and it was relevant to share it, I wasn’t holding back. The support I received was amazing and from the most unexpected places. It is hard when you are vulnerable, especially when you are seen as strong, confident and capable. So many people do not know how to act, what to say. It isn’t always about that though. A little acknowledgement. A hug. Even stating that you have no idea what it feels like can be the biggest help.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have not control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness, it’s our greatest measure of courage.” Brené Brown: Rising Strong
My latest step into the arena has me wide open in my vulnerability. Being vulnerable is wonderful. It invites support, compassion and love into your life. It also leaves you open to feel so much. It can leave you feeling wonderful or in a state of complete anguish. Both of these I have felt in the past 72hrs. I’m sure that there is some ‘rule’ out there that you shouldn’t share whilst you are still ‘in it’. But for me being ‘in it’ is where the magic happens. I have had my life completely flipped upside, turned inside out and then spun on high rotation. Every dream and desire I had, every plan, every wish, feels like it has been completely shattered. That open heart is now raw and physically painful – turns out you actually can feel a broken heart…. During all this I made a promise to myself to continue to be true to me. To continue to be vulnerable. To share. To ask for help. Not hide away from the uncomfortable feelings and encounters. This has lead to buckets of tears and body wrenching sobs. It has also allowed me to feel supported than ever before. It has allowed me to share my hurt. It has allowed me to see me through others eyes.
“Be vulnerable. Let yourself be deeply seen, love with your whole heart, practice gratitude and joy… be able to say ‘I am thankful to feel this vulnerable because it means I am alive’, and believe I am enough. You are worthy of love & belonging.” Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability.’’
Being vulnerable is the glue that holds relationships together, is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change and the place were we experience connection. Vulnerability is the cornerstone of confidence. You can choose comfort or courage but you cannot choose both – I will always choose courage.
I am making this promise to myself – I will continue to show up. I will continue to be vulnerable. I will give myself the time to heal. I will remember my self worth is not defined by the actions of others. And above all I will continue to love and be loved.
If this has at all resonated with you, please feel free to reach out. Sharing our moments of courage can build the momentum both within us to continue to be brave and as an example for those around us.