Vulnerability is a thing for me, ever since I started digging into Brene’ Brown’s work several years ago. It seems that this week has been a particularly “vulnerable” week already as yesterday I led one of the sessions of my friend Brandy’s Be course and the theme this year is. . . you guessed it, “vulnerability’. What we are fasting from this week is “perfectionism” because really rarely is a person vulnerable when we are wearing perfectionism as armor.
I was a bit nervous because I had not done this before so it was a totally vulnerable experience for me. But I’m happy to report it went well, we had a great discussion. Talked about Jesus, and giving, and self-compassion and all things vulnerability. We gave ourselves “gifts” in the form of permissions. A simple yet profound exercise.
Vulnerability -Adjective: 1.capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.
2.open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.:an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.
During Lent we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus is the ultimate example of vulnerability. He gave it ALL and held nothing back. He was real and was the same to everyone. He was open to attack and often was. He was wounded and betrayed by those who knew Him best. He showed up knowing that He could and would be physically and emotionally exposed.
Vulnerability: The willingness to show up and be seen when there are no guarantees . . . . uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To be human is to be vulnerable. – Brene’ Brown
One of the many reasons I love the work I do as a coach and especially through the Daring Way™ is because we get to explore such topics and because it works. I saw it yesterday as I shared a brief video snippet on the difference between perfectionism and healthy striving and also later as I worked with a client on empathy and self-compassion.
I have seen people experience breakthrough time and again. It works with moms, business women, in marriages, in recovery, with men, in ministry and so on. It’s not that Brene’ is some sort of superhero with a magic wand but her work is based on research and she has an amazing ability to give language to and normalize some very complex experiences that we can all relate to.
Honestly I’m not only teaching the work but I live it. It impacts my life on a daily basis, the relationships I have and the choices I make.
For example, I think I mentioned that a few weeks ago I was at a writer’s conference. Well we were all split into different tracks and I was in the non-fiction group. There were also a couple of girls in my group that I happened to know casually from an online blogging group we all belong to. I chatted with them and during one of the breaks we walked out together and talked for a few minutes.
One of the girls asked if I had an idea for a book that I was working on. I shared that I had a basic idea and told them about some of my thoughts and challenges with the concept and that was about it because really I have not done a TON of work on the project and am not positive that I will. But I felt comfortable sharing what I did.
But. . . when I finished talking this friend looked at me incredulously and said, “wow, that was so vulnerable. . . thank you for sharing”.
I hadn’t even really thought that it was but I responded that vulnerability had kind of become my thing given the work I do.
The real gift there was that my sharing opened up the opportunity for this friend to share her story. And I have to say I thought her story was much more personal and required more vulnerability than mine. But it was a beautiful conversation nonetheless and it made me thankful for the opportunity to share just a small part of my life with another person even if we had just met. It was a powerful exchange.
Vulnerability allows us to be seen and gives another person the opportunity to say “me too”.
Although I felt a lot of “wins” yesterday I have to admit that by the end of the night I was feeling worn out. I think I’ve mentioned that I’m an Enneagram type 9 (the peacemaker) which honestly means that for me conflict is the WORST thing EVER. And yesterday I had to not only deal with relational conflict but also felt like I was under spiritual attack.
I felt overwhelmed physically, emotionally and spiritually so I practiced what I preach and had a moment of vulnerability where I reached out to some of my sisters and asked for prayer. Honestly, there are times when the shield of faith just feels really heavy and I need an extra hand (or 10) to hold it up. I can’t say that I like asking for help or that I enjoy bringing attention to challenges I’m having but at the same time, it is a blessing. I have the opportunity to have people who love and care about me pray into my life and I open the door to have my friends and loved ones share their own challenges and ask for prayer or support in return. It’s truly is a gift.