A friend of mine says that I am the bravest person that she knows. I never really understood this fully. But just now…I am watching Brene Brown’s TED talk about “Listening to Shame” and hit pause at 5:25 to come write to you.
Being Vulnerable: Brown just asked the audience if we think of vulnerability and weakness as one in the same. And then she asked if they considered the vulnerable speakers up on stage as being courageous. The same amount of people raised their hands. I guess another way to say “I cannot be the only one who is looking” is saying I cannot be the only one who is vulnerable, and open most of the time.
She says that if we want to find our way back to each other, back to connection, that we need to be vulnerable.
Change has found me: A few posts ago I shared that I am not sure why people are not responding to my calls and emails. This week was different. I started telling people that I was encouraged to have more guts and that I apologized if my message seemed out of the blue. It was true. I was putting my heart out there with socially acceptable words like “guts” and it tapped into other people’s vulnerability.
Aware of Value: During my walk today, I realized that people are not always aware of their own value. They may not be aware of the amount of influence they have. Or if they are aware of the influence they might not know how to channel it. Let’s take networking for example. You may not understand how you fit with another person.
Say No, Say Something to reduce Shame : If you do not have the time or feel it is not a good fit, then most people will respect you for having the courage to say no. But even by saying it is not a good fit, we are being vulnerable. If we say no the other person might yell at us. They might judge us.
If we say yes, we might be inviting chaos in our lives. We might be taking on too much. We might not be ready or able to receive. Or maybe we just don’t care.
Here’s the thing. Even getting a no is better than silence. The silence creates stories in our heads. The silence lets shame creep in and perhaps all of the bad things we think about ourselves feels a bit more materialized.
If we say no to people, the human connection is still there. Tact is always helpful but a no at least tells the person to stop knocking on this door. The energy won’t be wasted as much as it would be in the silence.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. The other party says YES to interact and go to the next step of communication….the next step of human connection.
With great risk comes great reward. There has to be a way we can create the world we want. The more we look at this as heaven on earth the more fulfilled we will be.
Creative endeavors are not just for the fine arts peeps. Creativity is within all of us. It is used in our daily lives in every type of work. Creating something from nothing is something. Even writing an email is creation.
So I suppose I have a challenge in mind. Make a list of things you want to do. Make it a full list by saying…I want to do X and I will do it when this happens, or when I get that. (i.e. I want to take singing lessons but I am going to wait until I move to this place. Or I would totally take that writing class when I get better at X). See what you want and look at the conditions you have put around it. Now say screw it and figure out a way to do it now. Don’t put it off. Do it NOW!!!
Me even raising this challenge is putting me in a place of fear. What will my readers think? Will they be mad at me? Will they shame me and my opinion? Will they say, “oh it’s easy for her to say, she doesn’t know my life”.
Here’s what I know about MY life. I put off taking singing lessons for years. I didn’t see the value in it. It wasn’t enough for it to be fun. It didn’t feel like it was going to get me anywhere in life so I didn’t bother. Then I decided to just do it. I was so bored on the weekends that I wanted to fill my time. I wanted some sort of human interaction built in my schedule that wasn’t work related.
And guess what happened this week? I made so many breakthroughs in my singing lesson…breakthroughs on things that I have been struggling with for months. It felt amazing. If feels amazing. My writing also got better this week. I smiled a lot more. I felt lighter.
I am proud of myself. I had FUN.
My teacher has to deal with a lot of insecurity when I am in my lesson. She sees me criticize my voice like I hate myself. This is the first thing I haven’t figured out how to be perfect in. This is also the first thing I am not expected to be perfect in so it’s new territory. Jane Fonda says, “We are not meant to be perfect. We are meant to be whole”.
An attitude of gratitude: A few days after my lesson, I made sure to thank my teacher, and tell her she is so amazing at what she does. We practice in a small box of a room. But I chose to be vulnerable with her outside of the classroom, because she needs to know when I step away from her, I feel her support. She needs to know she is changing my life in a good way even though I’m scared.
Fail like you mean it: I have this strange need to show her how brave I am in other parts of my life. That’s what we do right? If we are failing we have to prove our success so we aren’t judged.
My homework has often been to record my voice WITH mistakes. If she hears my mistakes she will know what bad habits I have and assist in the course of correction. The hardest part of learning, is unlearning and rewiring our brain to the new information at hand. And the second hardest part of learning is TRUSTING that the new information is correct. If we show ourselves completely in the right settings, we can build.
If we are vulnerable there will be reasons and results to celebrate.
I hope you find powerful and positive ways to release shame, guilt, and fear because I cannot be the only one who is looking.