The Vulnerability of Vulnerability

I appreciate how the topic of vulnerability has burst onto our cultural scene in recent years. Thanks to Brene Brown- and her famous TED talk with over 38 million hits and counting- for taking this subject from her research papers to our dinner table conversations. Brene refers to vulnerability as the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love. I like to consider it as an anti-inflammatory for shame and unworthiness.

While I am a champion for interweaving more vulnerability into our relationships and everyday life, to practice this principle is... well, vulnerable. It takes a lot of vulnerability to be vulnerable. I believe vulnerability is a practice- perhaps like a spiritual practice- exposing perceived darkness in order to gain more access to the light. To allow oneself to be known on a deeper, truer level is not a guaranteed feel-good moment. For all the evidence-based research and glowing testimonials, when I uncover myself more, it can feel like the bite of a frigid wind hitting warm, naked skin that’s been kept under wraps.

A devotee of vulnerability, again and again I took the risk of sharing the truth of who I am with shaky breath and my stomach in knots. Ironically the ticket to authenticity, acceptance, and freedom made me nauseous. But I persevered and kept encountering understanding from others when I expected judgement and rejection.

Today I am further on my journey- less nauseous and more amazed. The fact that my dear friend who knows my secret thoughts and feelings AND picks up my calls on the second ring affirms I am both known and loved- proving the reward of vulnerability is well worth the effort.

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