One of my favorite teachers today is Brené Brown. She has written life changing books like The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly & Rising Strong. Brené is a research professor who studies vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. If you’re ready to run at the sight of words like vulnerability, shame or worthiness you are definitely going to want to read on.
I’m a huge fan of her work and what she has accomplished that I decided to enroll in her “Living Brave Semester” which dives even deeper into the topic of vulnerability, courage and shame. So far I am loving every minute of it. It’s not always easy to look inside myself and answer those tough questions, but I know it is SO worth it.
Vulnerability is a word that many people view with negativity. But Brené says it is neither good nor bad, it just is. People view vulnerability as weakness, shame, scarcity, fear, anxiety, uncertainty and failure. If vulnerability is not about negativity or weakness, then what is it?
Brené defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure”.
Sounds fun right?
But let’s look at it this way. I love the example she gives “With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow-that’s vulnerability. Love is uncertain. It’s incredibly risky. And loving someone leaves us emotionally exposed. Yes, it’s scary and yes, we’re open to being hurt, but can you imagine your life without loving or being loved?”
No Brené I can’t!
Yes loving someone is risky and scary and you have no idea what the outcome will be. But going through life without ever loving someone (not just in a romantic way) is a life I don’t want to live.
Vulnerability is actually the opposite of weakness, shame, fear, scarcity, anxiety, uncertainty and failure. It’s where love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, trust, innovation, creativity and gratitude are born.
Think about the last time you were truly vulnerable. The last time you really put yourself out there. Didn’t you feel more alive than ever? Yes you were probably terrified and regretted it the second you opened your mouth. But after that nauseous feeling passes, what’s left is something really beautiful.
When I quit my job and started my coaching business it required me to really walk my talk. Here I am writing these blogs and creating content for the entire world to see.
You mean people are actually going to read this? I am sharing things with the world that only people closest to me know? It has been one of the hands down scariest things I’ve ever done.
After I got over the initial shock and fear something else happened. People started thanking me for sharing my story. They said things like “When I read your website I could relate to you on so many levels. I read your blog every week and it really helps me to gain clarity around my relationships. I went through a similar situation you did and I want to share my story with others in hopes of helping them too”. That right there is worth it every time.
Brené says “There is no connection without vulnerability”. We cannot connect with each other on a human level unless we are willing to be vulnerable. It takes practice and is not always easy, but you are not really living unless you are willing to be vulnerable.
There are so many other great insights I want to share about vulnerability and what I’m learning in Brené’s class as well as my own life. Stay tuned because I’m going to be sharing more about vulnerability in my upcoming blogs.