I’m not too sure what type of immediate response my face gave to a comment made to me by another woman in a recent conversation (oh dear Lord, I hope it was gracious), but I am certain about the emotions it stirred within my heart.
These were her words…
“I wish you would show up more… be more vulnerable.”
Sister, I want you to know that her words struck me to the very core of my being. It reaffirmed what I already knew to be true.
Real people need the rawness of other real people.
This isn’t a new human characteristic or the residual of a dumb pandemic (although it likely heightened it). People have always needed to see and to know that other people experience life just like they do.
As women, it’s important for us to see we’re not the only ones who serve burnt pancakes, fluff the clothes in the dryer 56 times, or totally lose it when the dishwasher isn’t loaded “correctly”.
We also need to know there are other single mamas trying to parent a defiant teenager on their own, other wives who are scared to talk to their husbands about money, and other women struggling to “find themselves” now that their kids are gone.
Vulnerability… Why is it so freakin’ hard?
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown describes vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, emotional exposure”. In a nutshell, vulnerability is the uneasy feeling you get when you step outside of what’s comfortable into a circumstance of unknowns.
Sister, vulnerability is hard because it is an uncomfortable situation in which you have no control.
One of the most vulnerable (and hardest) things I have ever done is write my book, The Sweet Spot.
As I wrote, rewrote… and rewrote some more, I found myself saying and writing things I didn’t even realize I felt. I exposed emotions, ideas, hurts, fears, confessions, dreams that I had never shared with anyone.
Whew, talk about one of the most empowering and rewarding counseling sessions ever… and it was with myself.
The entire writing process opened my eyes to the fact that there are actually two types of vulnerability. There is a vulnerability with yourself and a vulnerability with others… both are extremely valuable.
If vulnerability is hard for you, start by journaling. There is such incredible power in releasing what you feel. Being able to say it out loud is such a healthy way to unload the burden of what’s weighing you down.
As you find it easier to be vulnerable with yourself, you can begin transferring that over to others.
If you desire to connect with others in a meaningful way, vulnerability is the first step toward building those relationships. If you don’t desire that, then I don’t know what to tell you… sorry ‘bout ya’, maybe??? You’re missing out, sister.
Other women want to see the real you and be around the real you. And you need that from them, too.
Vulnerability doesn’t have a one size fits all approach. It can present in so many different ways. Maybe it’s confessing a desire to do something (practical… or guilty pleasure), expressing a fear or shame you have, posting a picture of your not-so-picture-perfect burnt pancakes on social media, etc.
Whatever it looks like for you, take the next step. Be raw. Be real. Be you.
If you’re interested in seeing what vulnerability looks like for this sister, check out my book, The Sweet Spot – Everything Women Need to Know to Enjoy Life More.