Vulnerability is opening oneself to criticism, temptation and hurt. In Latin vulnerable is equivalent to ‘wound’able. If you only read this part and never dive deeper you might think that being vulnerable is a bad thing. I know in some situations it is a BAD thing… battle fields and unsafe places. I think of being vulnerable as a good thing, maybe it is one of those hard and scary things that help life be more amazing.
I, myself, am a big advocate for the importance of vulnerability. I know that the closest and most real relationships are forged on the times those included shared a deeper part of themselves. It is scary, but also it is worth it.
I like to think of it as getting naked, exposing parts of yourself that open you up to potential hurt… but ever-so-often it instead creates stronger connection and deeper love and true understanding. I try hard to stand up and ‘get naked’ often… sharing my brokenness, exposing my hardest parts to others and being ready and not-too-fearful of criticism.
In these years of writing more, speaking more and sharing more… I see some are so afraid of this ‘getting naked’. Many have an extreme fear of vulnerability, fear of rejection and hurt. This fear makes sense to some… but it doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know which way is better, only that I try to live not fearing any part of me. I can’t say that I have never been hurt in sharing. I have experienced criticism. I have been terrified of rejection… but I try to live on and do it anyway.
Last week I was a heavy and broken mess. I took the girls to school and knew I didn’t want to go home. I knew what was waiting for me at home… an empty chair and my lonely hurting heart. I called one of my amazing ladies, hoping she could grab an egg and coffee. I got one better… she had to stay home with her son and instead of going out made me a scrumptious and wholesome breakfast in her cute and warm kitchen. I felt comfortable, loved and safe. I could ‘get naked’ there, and she could too. In our years of friendship, we have delved into our broken, our embarrassing. I can honestly say she holds a bit of me, and I of her. I know I can sit with her and share it ALL and she would love and care for me always and anyways.
My closest relationships are built on this shared brokenness, sacred brokenness. Close, safe and strong are built in the broken… up out of the ashes (albeit slightly dramatic). Life is full of broken moments, we all have them. I remember caring for my grandmother and the vulnerable place she was in, how I kept her safe. I think about my lovely friends who have miscarried, in all stages of life in the womb, and how broken and hurt they were… caring for them and seeing their exposed hurt created a bond that is so much stronger. Those sacred and painful broken moments built us closer.
Shared Brokenness… maybe that is a good way to really explain vulnerability in a good way. Opening ourselves to potential wounds is an art- the art of being vulnerable. Imagine if more of our world tried to be more vulnerable, if we took down some of our walls and tried to see one another as what we all are- broken and beautiful. I try to see each other people I encounter in this light… living in their own life with their own experiences that make them more or less guarded. Shared brokenness-maybe there is something in that. There may be some crazy important in the art of being vulnerable.
My hope is that my work in the art of vulnerability can help others build themselves and their relationships better and stronger and more real. It is an amazing gift to be connected with another who you know that deeply, to share with others and feel the connection created. It is hard sometimes to share openly, it can feel like I am naked, but it is worth it.
What are some moments that vulnerability shaped you and your relationship? I am grateful for mine… morning coffees that got deep or a good cry on a lap. I will continue my work on the Art of Being Vulnerable… will you ‘get naked’ with me????
PS- Read Brene Brown’s words about vulnerability and life she is AMAZING and inspiring and makes so.much.freakin’.sense.