“Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are in a torture chamber we call uncertainty. And, yes, we’re taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But there’s no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness. ” ~ Brene Brown
I recently started reading Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly. If you’ve not heard of Brene Brown before, I encourage you to check out some of her talks on shame and vulnerability…especially her TED talk from June 2010 The Power of Vulnerability
On so many levels, I understand and have personally experienced the beauty that is born from vulnerability. I understand how admitting to others that I don’t have it all together brings healing, and freedom, and joy into my life. I understand how a community of people can only grow and thrive when they choose to be vulnerable. I have watched the healing power of vulnerability play out over and over again in the small groups I’ve either been a part of or have had the opportunity to facilitate.
I never want to go back to that time in my life when I was stuck. I was stuck because I believed the lie that I had to hide who I was in order to be accepted and loved. I believed the lie that if I stuffed the pain long enough (and pushed it down deep enough) then it wouldn’t be able to hurt me anymore. Avoiding life is an awful way to live. One of things Brene talks about in her now famous TED Talk is that you can’t selectively numb emotions. If you numb the bad…then you numb the good too.
Years ago, when I was starting off in recovery, I had to learn how to walk through the pains of life. I had to learn that pain, bad stuff, and bad choices do not define me and would not destroy me if I addressed them rather than stuffed them. I had to learn that there was life on the other side of the hard and the scary.
What I learned along the way was that the beauty waiting on the other side was what I had been in search of all along. I couldn’t reach that destination by running away. I couldn’t get there by denial. I could only get there by being vulnerable, by walking through the dark and out into the light.
Today, I realize that choosing to be vulnerable is a daily decision. I still hold back sometimes. I still let the “what if I fail” or “what will they think of me” fears dictate my choices way too often. Way too often.
I love what Brene said early on in her book, “What we know matters, but who we are matters more, Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
Today, I want to remember that who I am, and choosing to embrace the truth that I am enough, is what matters most. I want to step out into the scary because what I know or don’t know doesn’t add or take away from my self-worth. I want to choose to live “wholeheartedly”
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in your lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” ~Brene Brown