The issue of vulnerability is one that I have always fought with. Too much, too little, the happy middle ground. It is something I have written about many times before, but those were also the first posts I marked as private when I decided to really take the blog live.
It is always the writings of other people that bring me back to the point of vulnerability acceptance. And more often then not, the reminder comes from a gluten-free food blog written my Shauna Ahern. Have we ever met, no. Does she even know who I am, also no. And yet, she shares so freely and so honestly, without a motive or a “pat me on the back, I shared my story” feeling. It has always been inspiring. And this most recent read was not disappointing. The ability to feel joy and pain and grief, and to write about them so freely is a gift that I often wish I had.
One of the people mentioned in the post was Brené Brown, who in a TED talk (above*) called herself a researcher/storyteller. She studies people. She studies what makes connected, whole-hearted people in society. She talks about vulnerability not as an object of shame, but as the basis of joy, gratitude and happiness that provides “a strong sense of love & belonging [for people], because they believe that they are worthy of love and belonging.”
She talks about her research into these whole-hearted people and what makes them….well, them. And all possessed something similar the courage to tell the story of who people are with their whole hearts, the courage to be imperfect, compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to other people, and a connection as the result of authenticity. They fully embraced authenticity, because what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful, because it’s necessary so the growth of a person as an individual and a society together.
Plainly put. This is convicting (to throw a church term in there). To fully embrace this. To stop cowering in shame. To be willing to take a first step regardless of fear or shame. To know that we are worthy of love and belonging. No not numb the grief, and accidentally suppress the job that comes as well.
Because, as the talk ends, “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.”
* You can also find the talk on the TED site: here