It seems that everyone is talking about Brene Brown…the way she has exposed our culture and our world to an honest and open conversation about vulnerability and shame is extraordinary…and, I believe, helping to change our global consciousness about living more authentically.
For most of us, it is one thing to sit around with our close friends or colleagues and talk about vulnerability (if you work in my field, this happens a lot).But to BE vulnerable…to live in one’s vulnerability…to live honestly and to relate with vulnerability to another human being…well, that can be something different all together.
This morning I took a walk with a new friend. I know very little about her and she knows very little about me…our sons are buddies at school and so we find ourselves traversing a new relationship with one another brought together in this rather odd but intimate way. Her son sleeps at my house. My son sleeps at her house. It seems that we should know each other.
The conversation began like most do, “So,” she said exuberantly, “how are things?!” as we began our walk around the neighborhood. Here is that quiet moment of truth…. The reflexive response is, “Fine!” or “Great! How are you?” Instead, I took a breath and felt into my heart sitting with really how things are. Hello, vulnerability.
Let me back up a moment here…I am new in my present community…like, just a few months new. We are making new friends every day at school, through work functions, neighbors, figuring out which grocery store to shop at, the whole thing. There is a LOT of vulnerability happening right now in our lives. So…as I hear the question, “How are you?” I consider that my response is the beginning of how this new friend will think of me…will think of my son…our family…effect our relationship. How vulnerable should I be?
When was the last time you found yourself in a moment like this…when you had the chance to show up with vulnerability? Did you take the chance and throw yourself out there with your heart wide open? Or did you tentatively drop a toe in the water to test things out? Or maybe you just kept the honest answer inside because that is just what felt right.
There is no “right” or “wrong” response in that moment of truth-telling…but rather an invitation to simply be conscious and awake in the relationship with ourselves and with the other. Our responses, in these everyday conversations of life, build the foundation of our relationships. We are crafting the architecture of our relationship with the person across from us…whether that is our spouse, partner, boss, teacher, brother, mother, daughter, or…the mother of my son’s new best friend.
I invite you to consider how awake and vulnerable you are in your relationship with yourself and with others. Where do you show up more? Where do you show up less? Are there places where you tend to get small and other places where you are more willing to take up space?
Our vulnerability is an enormous gift but often one that we shy away from. Today, be gently curious about this part of yourself…spend some time with it…get to know it…write about it…and maybe share it with someone else. This is a doorway to transformation and freedom if we are willing to step through the threshold.
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If you are interested in exploring vulnerability more, I invite you to schedule a consultation session with me!