Monday, February 19, 2018

Beliefs about vulnerability

I've long struggled with the concept of vulnerability. Oh, not in my mind. I think being vulnerable is a great idea. It's just that I don't do it so well myself. For some reason, I learned to equate vulnerability with weakness. Is that because of messages about women being weak, messages I have long rejected? I don't know. It doesn't matter why. What matters is that I keep trying to be more vulnerable. I don't need to keep leaping tall buildings in a single bound, landing backward in a slim skirt and high heels! And I don't need to wear that "tough woman" facade to show I can handle whatever comes my way either. I can admit that sometimes I simply don't know what to do. I can admit that sometimes I'm really afraid.

As researcher and author BrenĂ© Brown says, vulnerability isn't weakness; and the barrier just might be our beliefs about vulnerability. Yes, she's right—at least in my case. In her latest book, Braving the Wilderness, Brown asks two good questions about vulnerability:

"Are we willing to show up and be seen when we can't control the outcome?"

And "Are we willing to create courageous spaces so we can be fully seen?"

I'm reflecting on those questions for myself. I don't have so much trouble speaking truth to power or truth to BS, as she recommends in her book. But admitting that I really don't know what to do—and admitting to my weaknesses, flaws and fears, well, that's tougher. But I keep trying.

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