Read it. Say it. Think it. Try it on.
And try not to shudder or get the willies when you do.
Vulnerability is scary and generally equated with weakness.
Vulnerability is showing up and letting ourselves be seen.
Vulnerability is letting your guard down, with people outwardly and with people inwardly.
It is letting yourself feel – really feel – emotion.
It is showing someone – heck, even yourself – the good, the bad, and the very ugly.
But here’s what I’ve learned over the last two weeks: Vulnerability is the key to all connections and relationships, and we are all made and hardwired for relationships and connections. Furthermore, vulnerability is at the core of all emotions and feelings.
Now, when I say learn, I mean I’ve read some things, like Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Watched a Tedx talk by Brown. Discussed this topic with our small group and in class with fellow seminarians. But I’m learning how to really learn vulnerability, and for that to unfold, I’ll need a lifetime.
For now, here’s what I know: If I’m going to experience the fullness of life, I’m going to need to learn how to be truly vulnerable. I’m going to have to learn that: “Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement” (Brown).
“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions only we can make” (Brown).
Will I learn that vulnerability is not weakness? Will I continue to learn that vulnerability does not equal unworthiness, fear, or shame? Will I determine to walk into the arena, dare to be all that I am, and allow myself to really feel, connect, and relate with the people around me?
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.