In the few weeks that have passed since sticking my head above the parapet and deciding to share my innermost feelings about myself as a whole, authentic woman, I have been told many times how brave I am being. My feelings vacillate wildly between pride that I have had the courage to even attempt to foster a nurturing community where I and others can move into all of our glorious, womanly power, and abject terror when the volume of my inner voice is turned up to the max and sneering “Who do you think you are? Who wants to read about the crap that floats around in your head?”
The most interesting thing for me is how these expressions of bravery have reached me; not one has been during a face to face conversation with someone. On a number of occasions, I have met up with a friend who has not even mentioned it to me at the time, and then later messaged me or emailed me to tell me that my writing resonated with them and I am so brave for putting it out there. Some have not even mentioned it at all, yet I know they are following.
Why is it so difficult for many of us to express our true feelings and be real with each other, human to human, in the flesh? One word – vulnerability.
We are conditioned from a very young age to view vulnerability as weakness. Putting ourselves in an emotionally vulnerable position elicits enormous feelings of fear; fear that if other people know our intimate thoughts and feelings then they will no longer like us; fear that we do not deserve to be seen as we are, because what we are is not good enough, and fear that our vulnerability will not be reciprocated and we will be left exposed and hurt. And so we avoid putting ourselves in situations where we might express our true feelings because of the possibility of appearing weak in the presence of another.
But here is the thing – I have made myself vulnerable by speaking my truth in a very public way, and that vulnerability looks like bravery to you. So why one rule for me and another for you? You can bet your boots that if you expressed your vulnerability you would look courageous to others too. Because you would be. It is in the sharing of our vulnerabilities that true connection happens between my heart and yours. Allowing someone to really see you with all your human frailties is the greatest gift you can give, and your reward is a real spiritual connection with an equally flawed soul.
So today, in some small way, have the courage to share your vulnerability with someone. Look someone in the eye and tell them how you really feel about them, or ask for that help you need, or leave a comment here and share your vulnerabilities in a safe space where you will be accepted with love.
Yours in vulnerability,
Note – since I wrote this, a friend directed me to the work of Brene Brown, an eminent research professor specialising in vulnerability. If this post resonates with you, then check out her blog Ordinary Courage.