Daring Greatly: Living with Vulnerability

We should find it within ourselves to begin living whole-heartedly.

Whole-heartedly means daring to be open, transparent and vulnerable, according to Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly.

Ms. Brown proclaims, “We must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.”

She goes on,

“Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.

Our rejection of vulnerability often stems from our associating it with dark emotions like fear, shame, grief, sadness, and disappointment—emotions that we don’t want to discuss, even when they profoundly affect the way we live, love, work, and even lead. What most of us fail to understand and what took me a decade of research to learn is that vulnerability is also the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.  It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path…”

Through my writing, I have made living transparently and opening myself to complete and utter vulnerability my life’s mission.

With each very vulnerable piece I have written, I have waited, reading it again and again—performing edit after edit. It was terrifying for me to share and release what I had birthed into the world. I was afraid to open this secret box that I had stored within my soul. A grand, cedar, hand-carved, ornate chest—my own Pandora’s Box—kept shrouded and padlocked, with many chains securing it.

I was afraid that speaking my truth may hurt others who were involved.

I was afraid that others would pity me for things I have gone through.

I did not want pity. I am no longer a victim—I am a godd*mn survivor.

However, the main thing I feared was judgement: would people now view me differently? Will they think me mad? On social media, we have learned to portray a life of absolute joy.

I have found that living openly, vulnerably and transparently often makes others deeply uncomfortable.

How do we change that? How do we start looking at vulnerability as anything but weakness? How do we get ourselves and others to see that being vulnerable is anything but weakness? That being authentic, sharing your true thoughts and feelings is bravery in its purest form.

“Damaged people are dangerous—they know they can survive.” ~ Josephine Hart

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