I think besides the fear of public speaking, being vulnerable is one of the biggest fears that people have. I was sent a link the other day by a close friend, and the video was this woman speaking about vulnerability and the research she had done over six years. It was some pretty powerful stuff, and I learned a lot from it. Here’s what I took away.
People hate being vulnerable. They hate being in a place that makes them feel like they are unsafe, physically and emotionally. Vulnerability is the core of shame, of fear, and is our underlying struggle to find worthiness. Being vulnerable is like being a street fight…people don’t often play by the rules. Often of times we numb ourselves and protect ourselves from being vulnerable. Unfortunately, what happens when we numb ourselves to being vulnerable, we also numb our emotions, and that tears us apart at the seams. The way this manifests itself is that we blame other people for our problems (a way of discharging pain and discomfort) and we pretend that our actions don’t have an effect on other people. We assume that everything is about us, and that no one else really matters. We prevent ourselves from being vulnerable in our relationships, with our friends, with people have have just met. I know this because I have been guilty of it once in a while, in thinking that someone won’t like me for just me, so I tried to pretend or play into something that I thought they would enjoy. Trust me, that’s not the way to go (I was just being vulnerable in admitting that). But there’s another way to do this.
Courage, the original definition, when it came into the dictionary was “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” Wow. I wish I had that definition when I wrote about courage. But it really means to let ourselves be deeply seen by others. To love with our whole hearts even though when you go into a relationship with someone, and there are no guarantees. Being vulnerable, yes…is the core of shame, fear, and struggle for worthiness…but it is also what makes each of us beautiful. It is the “birthplace of joy, creativity, of belonging, and of love.” This blog, is my attempt to be deeply seen, and to establish my journey into loving with my whole heart. There are no other motivations.
I picked “Better Together” by Jack Johnson for this because he sings the truth. We are all better together. We are better people with people who love us, who care about us, and would do anything for us. And to all my friends, I think they can feel that I love and care about them dearly. If you are in a relationship with someone, or just are really good friends with someone, lay your heart and your feelings out on the line. Let them know how you feel about them, and never assume that people know what you are thinking. I truthfully think that the only way you can become great friends with someone is to be completely vulnerable with them. This is why Greg and I sit down every week and drink Guinness and occasionally enjoy a fine cigar. We sit there, and drink, and spill everything…emotions, fears, struggles, things that make us happy…and the list goes on. This is our attempt at being vulnerable with each other, but we both respect the fact that we trust the other with the things that are truly on our minds and in our hearts. That is a friendship that will last till we are old men. And we will still be sitting on the porch, maybe in rocking chairs, talking our lives out. I haven’t written in days, because I am just happy. Really happy. I wrote the other day that it was the first time I had woken up with a smile on my face. Well, that has happened every day since then. Being at school over break is really relaxing. No one is here…I go swimming every morning…hangout with my roommate…study for my missed finals…write and decorate my room (which is almost fully covered in posters, vinyls, and quotes)…and hangout at night with some of my best friends. I have been happy because things really picked up for my. I got a huge promotion at work, but most importantly, that kicked in the gut feeling is gone. I am finally making people laugh again which is one of my favorite things in the world, I have a house to live in for next year with two great roommates, I have decided to pursue my dream of History and traveling aboard to Florence, and I am completely at peace with things. I am happy, and I am happy on my own. I am me again.
This blog is me being vulnerable. I am not writing this for anyone but me. But something else I am writing it for, and this possibly could be for the people that read it, is what I am learning in life. Every day there is something new and interesting. I love writing what I have learned, because maybe, somewhere out there, there is someone who is going through the exact same emotions for feelings I am going through and can pick themselves up with some of the advice I have been given. I do it because I know that while I am at the moment being vulnerable, I am also defeating my fears. My fear of being alone, being left by people I care about. And I know that I am getting better at combating those fears because here I sit, happy as a clam, smiling…because I know that we all travel certain paths, and somewhere down the line…those paths are cross again.