"Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, they're never weakness." (Page 37)
It's our second week of reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown as a community here at IndiAanya. My highlighter was hard at work this week-- was yours? So many good quotes, thoughts and ideas. Almost too many to cover in one post!
This week we're going to only look at Chapter 2. I know I had said 2 and 3, but honestly, I can't process both in one week. Too. Much. Good. Stuff.
So let's jump into a topic that makes most people squirm in their seats, shall we? Chapter 2 is all about vulnerability. What is it? How do you define it? What are some myths that need to be debunked so we can embrace vulnerability and live Wholeheartedly?
In the beginning, she asks us for our own definition of vulnerability. What does it look like in our lives? Maybe you filled in your own blank already, if not go ahead: "Vulnerability is ________."
I could probably list about a dozen things that vulnerability is to me right now. Something that has definitely been on my mind is the fact that in the very near future, hopefully next week, I'm launching a website and sharing all that our company has been working on for the past few months. Have I ever done anything like this before? No. Am I the tiniest bit terrified it will fail? Yes, completely. There's so much uncertainty in starting any new endeavor, it does leave me feeling exposed.
But I love what she says later:
"The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time." (Page 42)
Being willing to show up, to put yourself, your art, your words, your emotions--whatever-- on the line makes you braver every time you do it. Success or failure is not the point, but rather it's about showing up and being seen that matters.
What did you think of this quote from page 55 as she delves into Myth #4 and the idea that we can go it alone in life without being vulnerable?
“I did believe that I could opt out of feeling vulnerable, so when it happened – when the phone rang with unimaginable news; or when I was scared; or when I loved so fiercely that rather than feeling gratitude and joy I could only prepare for loss – I controlled things. I managed situations and micromanaged the people around me. I performed until there was no energy left to feel. I made what was uncertain certain no matter what the cost. I stayed so busy that the truth of my hurting and my fear could never catch up. I looked brave on the outside and felt scared on the inside.”
Brown describes our desire to go it alone as a shield we carry to keep others out, but that our lack vulnerability doesn’t keep us safe; it keeps us from being known by ourselves and others.
I’m sure we’ve all had those moments in life where we shared something personal and private with someone who didn’t honor our secret or perhaps used our vulnerability as a weapon against us to wound. Finding that very small handful of people that we can be our true selves with, who love us entirely, even though they see clearly our imperfections-- those few in our lives are the ones whose opinions actually matter.
For me, I’ve been guilty of emotional dumping on people I shouldn’t have. There was a quote from a TV show in the US called Chuck that I identified with that went something like, “I over-share to connect.” Well, I did over-share, too much, though I’m not sure I was anymore connected. Perhaps I was even less connected. I thought it was vulnerability, but it wasn’t. Looking back now I can see my motives were to be heard, not to connect with others on a heart level and I didn’t. Now, I have an inner circle of friends and probably two or three circles that go out from it. The inner circle is small, but it’s the folks I can go to with everything and let it all hang out without fear.
I loved also what she said about disengagement. The idea that disengagement leads to lack of trust and is corrosive to our relationships. I had never really thought about that being such a devastating betrayal, but everything she said in regards to this makes sense as I examine some of my own relationships. What do you think?
“Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears—the fears of being abandoned, unworthy and unlovable.” (Page 52)
Have you ever sensed this in your own life? Trust breaking down because of disengagement and an apparent lack of concern. The opposite of this is vulnerability, which produces trust. In the chapters to come we will talk more about those barriers to vulnerability, specifically shame.
So that’s chapter 2, sort of. Of course there is so much more than I’ve pecked out here in this post. So it's your turn now to join the conversation. Share with us below what thoughts you have on vulnerability or what stood out to you.