But I Choose Growth.
Sometimes I think there’s no way I can be vulnerable because I don’t like to cry in public, or post pictures of myself makeup free, or share details of my past. In the generation of social media, we see so much vulnerability showcased (real or not) and we think to ourselves, “I can never be that brave.” What we have to remember about vulnerability is that it’s all inclusive. Maybe that is what one person’s courage looks like, but it doesn’t have to be ours. There is no “right” way to be vulnerable.
Very rarely do we see wounds while they’re in the healing process. We either see them happen or we see them when they’re all fixed up and pretty looking. We don’t like to show how we get from A to B, the part where we are confused and scared and not sure where to go next- the most important part. Healing and vulnerability doesn’t have to look a certain way, it just has to be taking a step towards something you once feared ever doing before. LOL EASY RIGHT?! Me writing this article with an incredibly sweaty left armpit and shaky hands and explaining how I’m not vulnerable and I have no idea what the heck I’m doing, that’s vulnerability.
I’ve been on a huge Brene Brown kick lately (the queen of shame and vulnerability), and she describes vulnerability as having the courage to show up when you can’t predict the outcome. Certainty, which seems hopeful in the moment, can be an incredibly damaging thing. Whenever something happens to us, we are programmed to make up a story immediately in our heads in order to explain how or why it happened. We think this will put our minds at ease. Most of the time though, that first story we tell ourselves usually isn’t true. It’s our rough draft. We can’t just accept our rough draft. If you’re anything like me you need at least four or five drafts with a complete rewrite in the middle. We have to move through it and question it and be our own editors till we get to our truth. Vulnerability happens when we step out of our certainty comfort zones and dare to dream bigger. I find myself engineering a lot of smallness in my life, making a lot of excuses and apologies for who I am as a way to trick myself into never really failing. We think that if we beat vulnerability to the punch by thinking the worst and making ourselves less than, then we can’t ever get hurt. But that doesn’t work. And what we forget is that vulnerability is what also brings us joy. You can’t have the light without the dark.
The biggest desire of all humans is to connect, to feel understood, to watch someone else’s struggles or joys or instagram stories and be able to say, “I’ve been there.” By allowing ourselves to be seen for our truth, we allow others to connect to us. When I am vulnerable, no matter what that looks like, I allow myself to be accepted and connected to exactly as I am, not as the rough draft I tell myself. Being afraid to show who you are is you telling yourself that who you are doesn’t fit and isn’t enough. Being vulnerable lets ourselves know that we are good. And that we are enough. And that we fit, just as we are.
So no this isn’t me telling you to start ugly crying in public, or share details of how rough your time of the month is, or post unflattering bikini selfies. I’m asking you to find your story. I’m asking you to ask yourself how much authenticity are you giving up for approval? I’m asking you to not be afraid to take up your space - whatever that looks like. Vulnerability is not a personality trait, it’s a practice and every sweaty armpit we take towards it is a step in the right direction.