“. . . vulnerability is not a weakness but rather a superpower . . .” Brene Brown TED Talk.
Ms. Brown goes on to interpret vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”
“Vulnerability is a paradox because the more vulnerable you allow yourself to be, the more powerful you will feel.” Karen Anderson, author of Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters.
From the first post in March to the present, several of you have mentioned how doing this blog makes me vulnerable. Agreed. However, this particular vulnerableness has subsided a little.
On each post, my stomach tenses and I’m so nervous right before I press the “Publish” button. Done. Out there in cyberspace allegedly forever — however long that is.
It’s true — you feel naked. Oh my goodness, what have I just done? I have exposed myself to family and friends, not strangers, which adds to the anxiety.
I’ve loosened up since March. Getting outside my comfort zone has been a true blessing. In fact, this blog has changed my life for the good in many ways.
It’s all thanks to you. Thank you for still being here. Special mention to my friend, Ernst.
Examples of Expanding My Comfort Zone
Letting Someone Know When They Have Done Something to Upset Me
Good one, right?
I am comfortable doing this in my marital relationship. Past that it is a bunch harder. Sitting here I can recall only a couple of instances.
It’s much easier to say something if you don’t know the person.
Even with my therapist, questioning some of her comments, it’s hard. It takes me a while to work myself up to it.
I have a friend who once commented on my weight one too many times. I told her it didn’t feel good when she said this. It went fine.
However, the rest of lunch was a little uncomfortable. The mere act of saying something, though, felt confrontational.
Afterwards neither of us felt like our true selves. We’re still friends.
Having the Willingness to Feel Pride or Shame
Having low self-esteem, this one is a challenge.
I have no problem feeling pride for others. I’m happy for the successes and accomplishments they have achieved. You go girl! You go guy! Great work!
I find it difficult to feel pride in myself. It’s always been a matter of taking care of business. Getting a job done.
How could I feel pride when I’m just seeing my way through life? No special feeling about that. Just something I do.
Willingness to feel shame? Hey, no problem there. I’m kidding. This example makes it sound like I should feel shame.
Maybe a long time ago I did. I can feel sorry for something I said or did, be embarrassed by how I acted, and then be critical of myself, but is this shame? I guess it is. I need more info about shame.
Putting Yourself Out There and Risking Rejection
I think I am halfway there on this one. If I wanted to make a snarky comment about this, I would say my parents schooled me well on how rejection works.
It is one of the worst feelings ever. It’s emotional exposure to the millionth degree. At least that’s my experience. If you’re immune to the feeling, please tell me your secret.
Life is too short to carry rejection around with you. I don’t know how people do it. I’ve experienced it off and on all my life. I guess it’s my cross to bear.
I am living with rejection currently. I wish I wasn’t. It stings. I want it to go away, but it lingers.
I’m not consumed by it, but when it does enter my mind, it makes me mad and sad. And, I ask, ‘Why? How long will this go on?”
Am I such a yucky person that you don’t want to think about me or be around me? Ouch!
I’m not asking to be your best friend. I’m asking to be acknowledged.
I’ve reached out to people who are rejecting me. Offering an olive branch is not a sign of weakness. It comes from a place of strength.
I have been unsuccessful, but once I did receive a reply text. Should I stop trying for peace?
I believe at a bare minimum people are ingrained with the desire to be acknowledged . And I’m talking about the world, not just my basic existence here in Georgia.
In an unpublished post I have ready to go, I talk about advice. My best and favorite piece of advice is Do Not Take Things Personally.
This is how I handle rejection. I’m thinking it’s not my issue.
How to Become More Vulnerable
What does vulnerability mean to me? Your definition will be different. I need to examine the role vulnerability played in my family growing up, so they say.
I don’t think I can do that because I don’t understand my childhood or my “place” in our three-person family. Supposedly, then affects now.
It’s suggested we become familiar with the feeling of vulnerability. I know my feeling based on pushing the “Publish” button.
As I get used to the sensation, this should increase my capacity for vulnerability. This makes sense, but it’s still an uneasy feeling.
This is where I start moving outside my comfort zone. Let’s get real —who’s really in favor of doing that? I’m good right where my zone is.
They say share your truth. I’m relatively comfortable with that but could use some tweaking.
I can share the good stuff okay, but really getting out of my comfort zone more would involve divulging some of my “bad” stuff.
I’ll try it here. Here goes: I have a tattoo. Feeling my heart beat a little faster. My mind is racing a bit.
They say that the feeling of vulnerability will affect you physically, and it just did. I experienced the feeling just typing that sentence — knowing it would soon go live.
I don’t think having a tattoo is a bad thing. I don’t think it makes me a bad person.
I know people who frown upon tattoos and really aren’t hip to the idea. That’s okay. I understand.
It’s possible this exposure might open up judgments. Hence, I just made myself vulnerable.
I survived. I have no control over what people think.
I love my tattoo. It’s on the underside of my left forearm, between wrist and elbow, fairly small but seeable. The tattooist wanted to place it on the top of my wrist, facing outward.
I said I don’t think so. I would be unable to look at it directly without convoluting myself into a certain position — otherwise, why bother?I’m happy where it is.
My therapist thinks it’s good therapeutically. I agree. It keeps him nearby.
I got it when I was 64. It’s pretty much an outline so it didn’t hurt too much. I was sober, but will admit I did it on the spur of the moment.
I made myself vulnerable by getting it in the first place — what will people think? I have made myself vulnerable by sharing it with you.
To be honest, I used to cover it up depending on who I might be around and where we might be going.
The reason I didn’t like hiding it was because it made me inauthentic.
I want to be my true self to the best of my ability. I don’t hide it anymore. It may get covered up by clothing, but I no longer do it purposely.
Dare I say it? Love me . . . love my tattoo. Tee-Hee!
It took some adjusting to see Bruno’s face there on my arm. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I have read and learned you have to practice being vulnerable. I have taken a few baby steps, two words one of my sisters-in-law likes to use.
Vulnerability feels good, surprisingly. Has given me some needed confidence. I just put myself out there.
As the question so often is, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
— Chuck Palahniuk
Thank you so much for reading. I welcome any and all comments.
Did you know?
Reading for six minutes a day reduces stress by 68% — the ultimate form of self-care. http://www.weareteachers.com
The research on this post came from an article, 8 Ways to Strengthen Your Vulnerability Muscle and Tap Into Your Inner Power, by Jessica Estrada, dated December 29, 2019.
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