the power of vulnerability

It’s not good enough – living life parallel to the people you love – it’s not good enough.

We were made for connection. When we don’t have it we become depressed, lonely, isolated, diminished. This is just the way it is. This is not opinion, this is reality. Vulnerability is the way to connection, and you don’t get intimacy without vulnerably… also not my opinion, but the reality. And herein lies our choice.

Brene Brown has spent her career on researching shame, vulnerability and courage – and has been encouraging people toward living life whole heartedly, being willing to show up and be seen, say things out loud to one another and taking the risk. Becoming vulnerable changed her life forever, but it continues to be scary. It just is. She has inspired a culture of vulnerability and connection like no one else, and if you were to ask her she would say it’s still hard, it still sucks, but vulnerability is the only way to connection. Having the courage to show up in our own lives, what a revolution.

Here’s the rub. We aren’t great at it. Those of us that have spent their lives in hiding are going to fumble our attempts, and get it wrong as many times as we get it right before we get comfortable in our own vulnerable skin. Sometimes we over-share with the wrong people in our attempts to connect, sometimes we still used veiled, manipulative words, and we hurt one another.  But sometimes we get it right and are able to walk all the way through an issue together, and we see one another clearly and our love is shared and open, and our relationship is strengthened.

We get to choose. Will we keep walking toward love? Will we take the risk for real relationship, even when it looks like it backfired in our faces?

When we are in the habit of hiding, we won’t make it out of those trenches in a single conversation. I have spent a lifetime not saying what I really think, not revealing how I felt, not allowing people access to who I really am, and let me assure you, it’s a long journey out of those hiding places into open spaces. Realizing that I wasn’t satisfied with living disconnected from the people I love was just the first step of many little steps I have to make along the way, and I feel like I am still at the beginning of this journey.

Intimacy is a process with another human being with their own fears and doubts and foibles, and we have to be willing to let people be where they are in their own process, not demanding that they feel differently in a moment, or that they need to hurry up and get over things. At the same time, intimacy between two people is entering into an agreement with that person that both of you will try, both of you will keep walking toward one another, even when it’s hard and scary, even if it hurts. I don’t know about you, but any time I encounter truth that I have been hiding from, it stings, sometimes it hurts deep, but if I will stand and face it and not run away, then what I begin to find is that the truth only reveals what was already in pain, what was already broken, shines a light on it and guides us out of that dark place of hurt.

There is so much to say on this… I feel I could explore it forever and still be at the beginning of everything we could know about Love and connection. And as I write this I feel this resounding YES inside of me, a whisper and thunderclap from Love, Himself saying that once we begin the journey out of the dark and the hiding places, into the light of Love and shake free from shame and fear, then we can begin to know Love by His name, and be known by our true name as well. Yes, my friends, this is only the very beginning, there is so much more.

If you’ve never heard Brene Brown speak, please watch this. Brene puts words to things I think we all have struggled with – until next time my friends

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