“It’s tougher to be vulnerable than to actually be tough.”
“Vulnerability gives us freedom, power and connects us to a network of injured souls. It is through the art of being real that we can heal our self and others.”
~Shannon L. Alder
“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in sharing your authentic voice.”
I’m going to do some tip-toeing, because I am feeling vulnerable publishing this post. Please bear with me. I will probably say something that is wrong or off-putting, and please believe me that it is not my intent to make light of a heavy situation.
Reflecting on Vulnerability
I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability this week. In writing this, I looked up the definition, as there are different connotations.
1) capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2) open to attack or damage
Have you experienced times of vulnerability? Arguably, every person has, at some point in their life, been in a vulnerable position. Some people experience this more frequently, even daily, hourly, by the minute.
I have been in at least a handful of situations that were extremely physically vulnerable.
As a recovering perfectionist, I have had to stretch myself to step in to the emotional vulnerability of accepting my imperfection. After years of recommendations, I finally read Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection last year. I highly recommend it to my fellow perfectionists!
You all know by now my passion for baking. I admit, there is a vulnerability in baking for me. Particularly, when it comes to my new business. What if I don’t live up to my customer’s expectations? What if I mess up a recipe that doesn’t have an easy fix? I am sharing my heart in this business. Will my openness be off-putting?
With trusted advisors, I am constantly being reminded that I will make mistakes with my business. There will be errors. I am human. I am also being encouraged to continue sharing my heart mindfully. (My support system is pretty amazing, BTW.)
Every time I try a new recipe, I assume I will fail. Read my last blog post – they don’t all turn out! Last holiday season I tried a very complicated cookie recipe, and I was absolutely sure it was going to prove that I made a mistake investing in my bakery.
As I prepared the dough, I knew I was a fraud; I was sure of it! People were going to laugh. I was posting live updated on Instagram, and I knew the outcome was going to be bad. I was bracing myself for emotional wounds.
Long story short: the cookies turned out. (See above pic!) I have this as the wallpaper on my phone as a reminder to believe in myself and continue to try.
Leaning In to be with Others in Vulnerability
Sometimes we forced to step into vulnerability. Sometimes we step into vulnerability to learn and try to do better. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. However it is approached, vulnerability is always uncomfortable. Every. Time.
Many people around the world are stepping into the vulnerability that surrounds the topic of racism in our country. Some are stepping into it for the first time; some never left the topic and have been crying for help; I am returning to it after years of abandon.
I don’t know what to say in this large forum, other than to say what I’m trying to do:
- Take some VERY awkward actions.
- Have conversations that are not pleasant or graceful.
It is time for me to be vulnerable in this space. And to make mistakes. And to learn. It is time to do better.