on vulnerability

I have felt compelled to start this blog for several months.  But I’ve been resisting.  Really resisting.  Partly out of silly fears that irritate me but are nonetheless real.  But even more so, because I read the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.  And the book spoke so much truth to me yet nearly induced full blown panic attacks.  Because though I agreed with the theory behind her arguments, I realized I was going to have to make big, BIG changes in order to follow them.

Do you see what that says on the book title?  “How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead”  I’m sorry.  Did you say vulnerable?  As in, open myself up to the possibility of getting hurt?  Talk about how I really think and feel?  Hmmm….yea, I don’t do that.
The idea of being vulnerable, and exposing myself to a world that can be so hateful and mean sounds about as appealing as lighting my entire body on fire.
But after several weeks of self discovery (which isn’t always super fun and at times can be really, really hard–just a forewarning for anyone willing to go through it), I realized things needed to change around here.
I discovered I use one of the vulnerability shields Brown refers to as “numbing”.
“…numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences; numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
That last sentence hit me in a way I never expected.  Numb the dark and you numb the light”  The big problem there, for me, is God lives in the light.  So while I’ve tried to numb the dark, protect myself from the hurt, and often shy away from being really real in the sense that I’m willing to talk about emotion, and feelings, and fears, I’m also numbing the light.  And my connection to God.  And dulling my ability to fully experience love and joy with my family and humankind.  Wow.  And wow.

Here are some other thoughts Brown shared that really made me think.  And re-evaluate how I want to live my life and who I want to be.  And made me a little sick to my stomach to think of how hard this will be and how far I have to go.  But we have to start somewhere.  And action is the key.  Do something.  Anything.  So I blog.

“…the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”

“Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives”

“To feel is to be vulnerable”

“To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.”

“vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of what we’re supposed to be is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”

So that’s what I’m doing.  Trying to feel.  And be real.  And spread truth.  And hope in a world that so desperately needs it.

I honestly have no idea how I’m going to do it.  Or how I can change my heart and my actions.  But I’m trying with all my might to not just believe in God, but to actually believe God.  And take things one step at a time.  And get up every morning with a resolve that day to be present, be engaged, connect with others, and love my husband and kids with my whole heart.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee…”
Isaiah 41:10

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One thought on “on vulnerability”

  1. My second comment on your blog in as many minutes. I recently discovered Brene Brown and have been trying to live with my “gifts of imperfection.” I’m a voracious reader and have read so many self-help things, and Brene is really getting to the meat of the matter for me. Yup. It’s scary. Lots of her assignments I fiercely shake my head at and say, “Oh HECK no. Too hard.” And then a couple days or weeks later I dive it.

    High five to you for daring greatly and starting your blog some years ago. It’s beautiful, as are you and your family.

    I rarely write comments, but was just compelled to today. My friend Melanie writes a blog called PlumbTuckeredOut, and just published a book called The Rise and Fall of a Momocracy. We’re working on the Brene Brown books together, and are engaged in raising our fairly messy families the best way we know how, with all our faults and imperfections hanging right out there.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I appreciate you.

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