To “dare greatly”, according to Brené Brown, “means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations”…
I wonder how many people can agree with Brené… I wonder who is bold enough to call the act of being open and truthful about ones feelings courageous. For me, there are times when I question whether or not my vulnerability about my mental health journey and relationship with God is “too much”. Despite knowing that my words and my story is relative to so many people on my social media accounts and even those I see face to face everyday, there is still a small fear in the corner of my mind about how being open with my emotions isn’t acceptable.
That fear looks like my humiliation at being known as the “crybaby” throughout my childhood. It takes on the shape of my teacher’s face whenever I became upset at school. It sounds like the confused tone of my friend’s voice as she failed to understand my anxiety
when we attempted to go to a club on my 21st birthday. And it feels like the shame of having people look at me with concern, as if being emotional and expressing how I feel means that I’m weak.
Fear tried to diminish my vulnerability… it tried to stifle my ability to go against the grain of what we’ve been told (whether consciously or unconsciously) by the world around us. Don’t let them see you sweat; Leave your emotional baggage at the door; Don’t cry, you look like a girl; Keep your guard up or else you’ll look weak. Each of these phrases are basically telling us to not be human and ultimately feeds the fear of being open.
I’d be lying if I said that I always viewed vulnerability as a strength… it wasn’t until I began to go to group therapy that I realized being vulnerable and open about my truths and the emotions that came with them was beautifully difficult. Difficult because of how my vulnerability was addressed in the past, but beautiful because it was the first time many people responded to my overflow of emotion with understanding.
Where does the strength come in? It’s the foundation of vulnerability. Being vulnerable is something that takes energy, premeditation, and preparation as it goes against everything we’ve been socially immersed in. To be vulnerable and come out of it with any amount of peace, clarity, and self awareness is a courageously strong. For me, I found that the more I embraced vulnerability and shared the true pieces of myself, the more love I had for myself and the more connections I established with others…strength on top of strength.
It doesn’t matter how vulnerable a person is…it can be confiding in a close friend or family member, seeing a therapist, writing in a journal, or it can be writing a public blog for all to see. To be vulnerable is to be authentic, and to be authentic is strength. Continue to dare greatly. I know I will.
Vulnerably and candidly yours,