Is your vulnerability too low? Part 2 in my New Year’s series

If you want 2014 to be a year of change read on . . . .

 In this three-part series I look at three questions are keys to bringing change and growth into your life:

  • Part 1: Is your resistance too high?

  • Part 2: Is your vulnerability too low?

  • Part 3: Do you believe you are an artist?

Part 2: Is your vulnerability too low?

Person A talks openly about her disappointment at not getting a raise, while Person B says nothing and has an extra five Oreos. Person A says “I love you” first after the argument, while Person B stews between thoughts of blame and self-contempt. Person A reveals to a close friend his current struggle with depression, while Person B chooses to stay home alone and have another glass of wine.

“Vulnerability is the first thing we want to see in others and the last thing we want to show them.” This profound observation comes from Brené Brown, who is the current vulnerability guru (check out her powerful TED talks if you haven’t seen them). Vulnerability is that shy, soft part of us that feels afraid and at stake in the world. Vulnerability is fueled by shame, and its messages are:

  • I’ll never be enough

  • I’m just too _________ (fill in the blank . . . stupid, flawed, old, fat, unattractive, afraid, etc., etc.)

  • Who am I to think I can be special?

  • When will they discover I’m really a fraud?

  • What will they think?

  • I’m not gifted enough for my dream to come true

The voice of vulnerability tells us to retreat, to distract, and to numb out. Anytime we are in resistance (see my last post) we are holding-off vulnerability. And, we all have vulnerability. Most of us are living the bulk of our days as Person B and working hard to keep Person A locked up and quiet.

“I will increase my vulnerability.” I suspect this isn’t on your New Year’s resolution list. Add it to your list if you want the new year to be expansive. Why? Because vulnerability, growth and change are powerfully enmeshed, and because of this strange truth: vulnerability has been planted in the human experience as the gateway to courage, joy and abundant life.

“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To be human is to be vulnerable.” With her words, Brené Brown points us to the link between vulnerability and change. To change our lives, to break out of the patterns of comfort that we cling to, we must risk doing a new thing, which leads us into all kinds of uncertainty. This risking opens us to the disapproval of others and the powerful emotional exposure that comes with expressing more of ourselves to others.

Change is hard. Deep change is really hard. And if we want to choose deep change, we will choose thoughts, words and actions that make us feel vulnerable. The exciting part of this human adventure is that once we pass through the gateway of vulnerability, there is a new life awaiting us, one that is more vital and creative, and one that is more human and divine.

Categories Spirituality, Thriving, Transformation, Vitality | Tags: | Posted on December 27, 2013

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