The Power of Vulnerability (Life Lessons - Part 18)
Opening Yourself to the World
The Power of Vulnerability
I remember the first time I really put myself out there as an adult. It was actually only a few months ago when I was in New York City for an internship. I stayed there for several months, and I was able to explore and see everything I wanted to see.
City streets at night filled with the chaos and commotion that somehow still brought peace.
Washington Square Park at night, and the crowd of people that joined around the musicians.
Jazz clubs where I could feel the vibrations of the greats like John Coltrane still playing in the shadows.
One night, I was coming back from one of these delightful experiences, floating in content. I stayed in New Jersey at the time, so my last steps in the city each day were in the halls of Penn Station, waiting for the schedule to tell me what track to go on.
It was about eleven at night – the last few trains of the night were making their way. The last few people who hailed from New Jersey stood sparsely waiting in the NJT section of the station.
And you know New York, a place where the people are seen as rude because there simply isn’t enough time to help. This was an idea I had become acquainted with over the months.
But there sat a girl. Alone. Crying. Early college age if I had to guess.
I remember. I tried to ignore her like a classic New Yorker, but I couldn’t. So I looked at her. I looked at my phone. And back at her. Then to the guy that was ten feet to my left, who was also looking at her. And then, at me.
In the moments, I wanted to help, but for someone reason, like all of us, I was conditioned to be afraid of helping others. Conditioned to think only for myself. We think so far ahead in trying to help that we freeze ourselves – we forget just to take the first step.
As the last few minutes rolled by before my train, I couldn’t just stand by anymore.
I took the first step. And you know the best part about taking the first step? Everything afterward is automatic. And so I kneeled down, talked to her, and got her to smile as I helped her up.
Instead of standing like a zombie watching the schedule, my night ended in making the connection, so many of us fear. When she said thank you, we parted our ways. I don’t know where she is now or even her name. But I know, for at least a moment, I helped pick up another human being when they were down. I just wish I didn’t wait 22 years.
Can you say the same thing?
*sniffle* ...I’m not crying…just cutting some onions.
Jokes aside, Brené Brown IS the reason I began to take the next step in my life. Her Ted Talks on vulnerability (video) and shame (video) should be put in the vaults to be saved for all time. And her Netflix special, The Call to Courage? Have mercy. Some of the most inspiring words I’ve heard. I’m easily moved by sentimental moments, but when it comes to inspirational speakers? I keep my standards pretty high.
I exaggerate, but only…Wait, no. You know what? There is no exaggeration here.
And so, in inspiration to the intelligence of this woman, I will bring what I learned in my route to vulnerability.
When you are vulnerable, you are expressing your most authentic self. It sounds easy, but it’s not. You are putting your self on the chopping block, and you give away power to whoever you are opening up to.
You don’t have to be a hero to be courageous – just human.
A thing to remember is this. If you open up the deepest parts of yourself, you may have to face rejection. Rejection is scary, but in the long run, it’s a win-win.
If they reject you? They don’t belong in your life.
If they accept you? Then you found a particular person you can be yourself around.
Vulnerability forces you to show up to whatever situation you are in. It takes everything you were and everything you will be and tests it all in the present moment.
Society places such a substantial value in living in the present moment but discourages the only route that it takes to be present genuinely.
Excellence Not Perfection
The image we project to the world, especially on social media, is one that paints a picture of perfection. But guess what? Even Van Gogh’s Starry Night wasn’t perfect. You see, to be perfect, you have to be seen as such in all eyes objectively.
So, don’t strive for perfection because it’s a task no human has ever achieved nor will ever reach. Look for your beauty in the imperfection because that’s the only place it hides. Be the best you that you can be because everyone else is taken.
Will Smith, an enigma for years, is a splendid example of this. And you can see the joy and peace it brought him and his family to be perfectly imperfect - video.
Dare to Be Yourself
Along with letting your imperfections shine, you have to be yourself! Dare to do what you want to do in the face of new experiences. Because everything you want is on the other side of fear. Another Will Smith inspiration. This guy’s on fire in this post. Check it out here! Being yourself doesn’t have to be jumping out of a plane, but the basics still apply in everyday life.
Benefits of Vulnerability
As humans, we crave the depth of human connection. But a genuine connection doesn’t come until we show our true selves to the world. So, do you dare to be yourself? Everything you gain is worth it.
When you start putting yourself out there, you start seeing who you are. Everything you believe and think becomes more solidified in this world. Once that happens, you can put solid to your self-worth, and it can be absolutely free.
Why We Fear Vulnerability
Did someone say vulnerability? RUN!
It Takes Trust – Acceptance, and Rejection
Most of us can create a persona that is detached from our own self-worth and self-esteem. Something that can get trashed, but we know it isn’t us. Some of us can’t even make that distinction from our true selves, so that means you’ve done a lot of work if you can.
But to have your true self rejected? That’s something that can hit hard. When it’s done enough, it pushes us further and further behind that persona of protection.
Lack of Self-Importance
Self-Importance - a delicate situation that can use an article of its own…
If this is the case, just know that you are valuable even if you don’t see it. You are important enough to put your unique mark on this world and be yourself when you want to be. If this is a trouble spot, a support system is a great way to help with this.
This world is full of over seven billion people, but only a small percentage of them are individuals in this world. Be one of the few, and see your happiness and peace transcend you into a life you’ve always wanted.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Until Next Time,