“Vulnerability is not an option.” ~Brene Brown
Who you tellin’, Helen?
I’d have to say that my primary struggle in this lifetime is about vulnerability and shame. It may look like a conflict between powerful and powerless. It may often involve the physical – body image, finances, energy.
At its core, it’s all about being intensely aware of how vulnerable I am, judging this as a weakness and how my sense of shame about it plays out.
It almost always entails some form of addictive behavior – numbing. Sometimes productive, like work. Often destructive, like food. Regardless of the substance, the root cause is the same.
Until Brene’ published her ground-breaking work on shame, vulnerability and resiliency, 12-step meetings and my journal were the only place I could take these feelings.
Brene’ Brown’s essay on 4 (Totally Surprising) Life Lessons We All Need To Learn hits the nail on the head at on Oprah.com.
Sometimes I hear people say “I don’t do vulnerability.” But you do it, everyday. We all do it. We all have those moments. The only choice you have is how you handle those feelings of being terrifyingly, painfully exposed. Maybe you turn them into rage; maybe you turn them into disconnection; maybe you numb them; maybe you turn them into perfectionism (which, by the way, is what I do with them). But you do something with them.
The key to transforming them into courage instead is learning how recognize them, feel them and ultimately make the choice to simply be there, with that horrible tangle of uncertainty and risk. When you know what you’re feeling and why, you can slow down, breathe, pray, ask for support—and make choices that reflect who you are and what you believe.