How vulnerable are you willing to be? Vulnerability gives us the opportunity to connect, but it also puts us at risk of failure and shame. Those were some of the things discussed in last week’s shortcast ‘Failure and Forgiveness’ so it seems apt to follow on with a conversation about daring to be vulnerable.
As a child I experienced ridicule and shame from a few ‘unenlightened’ teachers. It was normal in the 1960’s and 70’s, but sadly (as my son tells me) it still happens a lot in schools today. It taught me to build a shell around my emotions to avoid feeling vulnerable and made meaningful relationships difficult to find. My interest in performance in my 20’s is what turned things around for me. Learning to access my emotions through performance and acting classes gave me the courage to take it further in my personal life. Being vulnerable with friends and family has opened the door to rewarding relationships. In particular it has enabled me to connect and role model vulnerability with my son.
Another place where it’s risky to be vulnerable is in the world of media and politics. Having the courage to speak the truth publicly is the place where many of us feel most vulnerable. And what happens when what we thought was true isn’t. How many people have the courage to admit they were wrong? We see it a lot when people dig their heels in to defend a standpoint just to avoid being vulnerable and open to shame. But what happens when we dare to say I was wrong? This is where the riches are. This is where we create connections and build trust.
Speaking from experience, I can say being vulnerable is worth the effort. I hope you’ll join me in this conversation and explore your own experiences around vulnerability.
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