Can we be both strong and vulnerable? It's something I've grappled with for some time now. So when I read in Brené Brown's latest book, Braving the Wilderness, a quote from Dr. Joan Halifax, Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, activist and author, I was fascinated.
This quote from Halifax opens Brown's chapter entitled "Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart." This is what Halifax says:
"All too often our so-called strength comes from fear, not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence. If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that's flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that's soft and open. ... How can we give and accept care with strong-back, soft-front compassion, moving past fear into a place of genuine tenderness? I believe it comes about when we can be truly transparent, seeing the world clearly—and letting the world see into us."
These words are especially important as we find ourselves in such a divided country. Brown goes on to say, "If we're going to make true belonging a daily practice in our lives, we're going to need a strong back and a soft front. We'll need both courage and vulnerability as we abandon the certainty and safety of our ideological bunkers and head off into the wilderness."
How do you see this?