This morning, my friend Heather recommended I watch this TED talk on the power of vulnerability. Please take 20 minutes – if not right now, then soon – and watch it.
This puts words (and research I suppose) to my journey over the last 15 months. Of accepting and claiming the courage to be imperfect, the compassion to be kind to myself and then others, connection as a result of authenticity (a letting go of what I think I should be, to be who I am), and most of all vulnerability. A vulnerability that is neither comfortable nor excruciating, but simply necessary.
Coming to a place of being willing to tell the story of who I am with my whole heart – the definition of courage – has been a long and painful “spiritual awakening.” (I like the spin of calling a “breakdown” a “spiritual awakening.” Both are probably accurate labels.)
Brene’s research uncovers that vulnerability is both the core of our feelings of shame, fear, and unworthiness and the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love. Reality and experience tells us that we cannot selectively numb: through controlling, perfecting, or pretending. We cannot block the hard and expect to receive the pleasant.
As my life tells this story, and I prepare to move to California in one week, I am ready for what’s next. For letting myself be seen, for loving with my whole heart, for practicing love and joy, and for believing that I am enough. Not that I couldn’t (or aren’t) doing those things where I am now, but that a new environment, a renewed context, seems necessary to “stop screaming and start listening.” To fully embody all that these last 15 months have taught me. To accept that I am wired for struggle, but worthy of love, regardless.
For fear of you reading my notes and reflections and thinking you don’t need to watch the talk yourself, I’ll repeat: PLEASE find 20 minutes of margin time in your life today, this weekend, next week, and watch it. You will hear and notice things that I didn’t; that are more salient to your life. Because I think there’s something deeply significant and profound in vulnerability, as cliche as we may receive that word.
One more time, please watch it. I won’t even ask you to thank me. And then, if you’re so inclined, pre-order this book and explore vulnerability from its spiritual foundation.