Vulnerability Defined: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed either physically or emotionally.
It’s a scary word really. I wanted to stop writing at ” the possibility of being exposed”…. but in exposure the latter is true as well. There’s a possibility of feeling attacked or even harmed in vulnerability. Maybe not outright. Sometimes the harm creeps in subtly when someone simply doesn’t totally understand where we’re coming from. Sometimes you feel attacked when people second guess your deepest thoughts. But, nevertheless if we are to get anywhere in this life we have to be true to who we are. We have to be vulnerable to other people’s opinions of us. The antidote to harm in a vulnerable position is confidence met with courage. Brene Brown defines Courage as: “telling the story of who we are with our whole heart. Courage is the ability to show up imperfect. Courage is kindness and compassion first towards ourselves and then to others. Courage is connection as a result of authenticity. Courage is the willingness to let go of who we think we should be in order to be who we actually are.”
Vulnerability is a thing to be embraced. We have to be so very confident that our voice, our opinion, our process of thought matters. We need to know deeply that whatever is slung our way will burn up in the fire of our truth. When it burns up it either produces something valuable that sustained the heat and is worth taking in or it disintegrates into thin air. That’s not to say that other people’s opinions don’t matter. I’ll be the first to admit that they do. There are a billion people smarter, wittier and wiser than myself. But, that doesn’t disqualify my voice, or my thoughts, or my state of being.
Vulnerability is powerful. According to my hero Brene Brown, “Vulnerability fosters connection and belonging which gives purpose and meaning to our lives. In order for connection to happen we have to be seen…. really seen.” Vulnerability can feel like standing naked in a field with only a towel of honesty wrapped tightly around you. Vulnerability and truth however are the gateway to your soul. It’s the gateway to true love. It’s the gateway to sustained growth. It’s the gateway to learning and perceiving. It’s the gateway to you living out your best you.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity” -Brene Brown
I believe in us and the ability to enact the courage to be who we truly are.
“I believe that if we want meaningful, lasting change we need to get clear on the difference between guilt and shame and call for an end to shame as a tool for change.” -Brene Brown
I’m no Brene Brown, but I know a thing or two about shame. It is the anaconda of the jungle. It is the piranha in the waters. It’s the deep, dark pit of doubt in our worth. Shame is immobilizing. It is a car with no keys you guys. Shame will tell you that you are inherently flawed and unworthy of love and belonging.
We all have our weaknesses. We all have our own set of struggles. We just do. I remember struggling with shame as far back as I can remember. I know that shame was a catalyst for an eating disorder in my life. I grappled deeply with perfectionism. Every time I screwed up at something, be it small or large, my recovery time was shockingly long. Shame would visit me and stay well past its welcome. It would come on the scene and stir deep inside creating mental turmoil. I bought the lie that I was flawed, broken, bad. Not in a passive sort of way. In an aggressive sort of way. Shame became such a norm that I didn’t even recognize it when it showed up. It was truly the visitor that just never left and all the while you’ve got a million things to do. Shame suffocated my value as a human being. I used my eating disorder, of all things, for some sense of control. I would think: “I can’t control my worth because I’m so damn imperfect inside…. I’ll at least control my body and what others see on the outside.” It’s so twisted isn’t it? Shame is not a driver for change its a driver for destruction. Guilt on the other hand can be a productive tool. It’s the feeling we get when we miss the mark and then decide we can do something about it. Shame is the belief system that when we miss the mark we deserve the repercussions because we suck.
We HAVE to get shame resilience going deep inside our core. The company that shame keeps is just too dangerous. It’s literally got to go. We simply cannot let shame have even the slightest foothold in our hearts.
Resilience defined: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, the ability of a substance or an object to spring back into shape.
Radical Forgiveness is the antidote to shame and the open door to resilience. Radical forgiveness is the set of keys to the car friends. If you or someone you know struggles with perfectionism, self-doubt, feeling unworthy and a whole host of other things you can bet your life that shame has set up camp somewhere nearby. Please cover yourself in radical forgiveness today. Radical forgiveness means pour over yourself forgiveness to the point that it SATURATES who you are. Let it soak into every nook and cranny. Let it overwhelm you and fill you and serenade your worth. Let it call your unique human self out of the closet and into the sunlight. God rose the sun just for you today. You were not meant to cower in the darkness of doubt in your value. You are stunning in every way, the broken places and all. Get RESILIENT against this thing. It has over stayed its welcome in every way. Surf the waters of radical forgiveness.
I believe in us and the power to know our true worth.