“Can’t give up actin’ tough. It’s all that I’m made of.” – Neko Case “Middle Cyclone”
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
― Brené Brown
I’ve developed a pretty good poker face and some effective self-protection measures over my lifetime. My husband told me a while back that I had achieved ninja warrior level with the whole “don’t worry about me, I’ve got this” thing. (Oh, the conversations that led up to him gifting me with that little gem!)
Maybe I’m no different than you – a few razor-edged experiences at pivotal moments translated into a keen reluctance to expose my soft, fleshy underbelly without doing some strenuous risk/reward calculus first. I’m not entirely guarded. If I think you are safe I’ll show you the real real with me, but my process for determining whether or not you were safe has had some pretty high hurdles you needed to clear first. That’s just prudence, you say? Nothing wrong with prudence and good judgement. I usually have a Plan B at the ready just in case I need it. But prudence becomes something quite different and inhibiting when it’s out of proportion.
Being tough and always ready to do battle does protect from life’s deep valleys. It also means NEVER being granted the spectacular views from the tallest peaks. You just don’t get to have one without the other – it is life half-lived. For me, as it turns out, every interesting thing that has expanded me as a person happened in the aftermath of becoming vulnerable. I won’t suggest that I always did that willingly. Nope, I did not always go gently into that good night. But while I’ve definitely experienced free-fall, I’ve never hit the ground hard enough that I couldn’t get up and keep going.
So, here’s a TED talk I wanted to share because it resonated deeply the first time I watched. It just sounded like truth distilled. Maybe you’ve seen it since it’s been viewed more than 9 million times. Turns out Brené Brown’s research and findings about vulnerability and letting others really see who we are has hit home with a lot of folks. Maybe we are all tired of hanging on ’til the bitter end before letting go and trusting that, no matter what we face, we will find the courage and grace to walk through it. Enjoy.