In the Power of Vulnerability (amazing TED talk) Brene Brown discusses the heavy weight of shame; the fear of others judging, or disliking, so that we will lose the connection with them. And this is a deep rooted pain; as connection is how us human beings exist and thrive.
She says that people who have the least shame – who had the greatest sense of love and belonging – had something big in common; they believed that they were worthy of it. Simple as that. And by believing they received so much more.
Most importantly they were unafraid to share the deepest parts of themselves and to be vulnerable, and in this, their love and connection deepened even further.
But being vulnerable is complicated isn’t it? A friend who spent a decade in an abusive relationship admitted: “I get that vulnerability is trendy now and we are all supposed to be it/practice it. But it was by refusing to be vulnerable anymore that I got away from a monster and reclaimed my life.”
I get what she’s saying – but I also think admitting that you are in an abusive relationship makes one incredibly vulnerable – and hugely courageous in my book.
I think the key to power vulnerability is being very sure of yourself, understanding where you are in the world and where you want to be. I also think it’s essential that one understands who to be vulnerable with and who to run a mile from.
I love Brown’s work and I’ve been working on my vulnerability for years. Looking deep inside and continually trying to understand who the authentic me is. I was brought up in a pretty dysfunctional family, the youngest of three uber-ambitious/clever siblings, I had to fight my corner. My parents hated vulnerability/weakness – they couldn’t cope with it – so guess what I became the most talented people pleaser you could imagine.
Worked a treat in journalism. I could be sent anywhere any time and I’d get on with absolutely anybody. I was known for it. Fast forward 10 years and I woke up with two small children, no job, no partner – and I had absolutely no idea who I was. It was a text book existential crisis
The choice was then a breakdown or therapy. As a born survivor I opted for the latter and it literally changed my life. It’s taken years and it’s been really tough. Self reflection doesn’t bring about change unless it hurts like hell – but boy has it been worth it.
Sharing my secrets
So my dear readers as I seek to build a deeper connection with you here is a little flavour of what I’ve learnt about me
- I still can’t cry out loud. I can feel all the hurt and sadness in my chest but I can’t let it out. This is why I’m signing up for the Bridge retreat later this year – I’ll be telling you all about it.
- I still shake if I have to say “no” to a friend – I’m fine at work, it’s personal relationships that I struggle with here. I have to write down a script before being able to state why I can’t do something “don’t over explain” – is at the top of the page
- For most of my life I’ve suffered bouts of crippling loneliness – you know the kind when you’re surrounded by people but feel you’re in a metal cage. Can’t reach out and they can’t come in…. I’ll be researching lots more about loneliness as I think it’s one of the biggest social problems that we now face
- ….oh and for many years I’ve had this mad, crazy, wild crush on Tom Jones…. but I think he’s trendy again now so I’m ok on this one:)
I would love to hear your stories either here on on firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous is fine, sharing and connecting is all that matters.
Have a lovely Sunday