Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rainy days and vulnerability

Grey, rainy days are best spent indoors, bundled up, with the blinds open, and a good book in hand. This weekend's forecast is all gloom and thunderstorms...aka what I consider to be happy weather! Currently I'm all about
Brene Brown's Daring Greatly book. I first came across this author after watching her inspirational TEDx talk, which you can find here.

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity" (p.36).

This quote seems contrary to popular belief, in which vulnerability is often a scary thing associated with weakness, failure, or unworthiness. We are faced with anxiety, the need for belonging, and the desire to maintain face. I have always struggled with being vulnerable. I am one of those people who conjures up a list of all the things that could go wrong, which ultimately stem from a place of unworthiness. One of the first things my husband ever told me during our dating period was to not be afraid of being vulnerable or of getting hurt. But I liked him so much I felt it was important more now than ever to maintain a good front. Like many girls, I wanted to be the person he wanted. I also didn't want to allow myself to encounter feelings of hurt or pain, nor did I want to inflict those feelings on him.

I remember there being so many periods of breakdowns. I was scared that if he knew just how insecure I was about myself, he would find a reason to leave. Although I believe there is a trust game at play, I also agree that vulnerability is taking the leap, kind of the "all or nothing" mentality. But all or nothing is difficult when you want to control the future. But at some point, we need to realize that controlling the future is a lost cause. Rather, we should focus on "daring greatly" and living, what author, Brene Brown refers to as, "wholeheartedly", which is "about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness" (p.10). It is going against the common assumption that we aren't good enough or the mindset that we must always strive to obtain a place of greater self-worth. Brown argues that vulnerability holds the power of freedom and the window to showing the world the real you, because it is "the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity" (p.36).

That doesn't make it sound any easier though. Because what if the world doesn't like the real me? What if they like the current projection of me? What if I'm really good at the projection of me and not the real me? I know. I struggle with these questions all the time. What I should be asking myself, and don't do enough, is what if the real me is who people really want to get to know? What if the real me allows me to be truly loved? What if the real me isn't bound by the constructs of societal expectations, but rises above with creativity and risk? What if the real me wants to love without the fear of failure?

But why be vulnerable if it feels as though popular opinion doesn't vocally appear to be accepting of it? In the news we are constantly judging the leadership of corporations, law enforcement, our government, and even parents. We place blame on people for their mistakes and create a list of expectations for the type of person they should and should not be. What we've created is a web of guidelines instructing people how to be perfect and blaming them when we don't think they're good enough. We've failed to leave any room for grace.

But why should we cater to the idea of vulnerability when the status quo seems to disagree? After all, I don't want to be projected on the news as being a failure in life. I think the answer is that by being vulnerable, we become the catalyst for encouraging others to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is courage and grace. It's the kind of grace that isn't quick to judge or blame, because it values the self and in turn, sees the worth in others. It is quick to empathize, to love, to build up one another. It's acknowledging that we aren't capable of being perfect, but we are always worthy to be loved.

"If we want to be able to move through the difficult disappointments, the hurt feelings, and the heartbreaks that are inevitable in a fully lived life, we can't equate defeat with being unworthy of love, belonging, and joy. If we do, we'll never show up and try again" (p.67).


Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York, NY: Gotham Books.


  1. I stumbled across your blog via tumblr, and this post really struck a chord with me. Because even though I've grown to be very comfortable with myself, I still worry what other people will think about me, especially when I meet new people. But then I think, if they don't like the real me, this isn't really someone I would like to keep around, at least not someone to develop a deeper kind of relationship with. I don't really want to be anyone else than myself, and I would rather focus my energy on people who respond to who I am, rather than an act I'm putting on. And the only way to know who these people are is to be vulnerable. I've kept seeing people talking about Brene Brown, so I definitely think I need to pick up her book. Your words and photography works so beautifully together as well!

    1. Hi Anne Marie,
      Thank you for your response and for visiting my blog. I think you are a very courageous person for having developed so much self-awareness and for being comfortable and confident in who you are. It can take incredible strength in walking away from people or groups who aren't uplifting or don't allow us to feel comfortable in being ourselves. Of course we should still be respectful towards them, but when it comes to building relationships with vulnerability, I think it's much better to do that with people who care for us.
      And yes, you should definitely check out Brene Brown. Even if you don't get one of her books, at least watch her Ted talks. They are truly inspiring. :)
      I'm glad you like my photos! I have a long ways to go, but I've been trying to get better. :)