Sunday, September 15, 2013

Facing vulnerability

Brene Brown - one of my favorite people (Photo Source)

For the past week or so, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of vulnerability.  If I had to sum it up in my own words, vulnerability is about letting go of your need to be perfect, letting your guard down, and courageously working through the parts of our lives that make us feel uncomfortable.  Why?  By pushing through the discomfort, you can find greater connection and love with others, and yourself.

My interest in exploring vulnerability started with my friend's recommendation to watch a TED Talk video by Brene Brown about the power of vulnerability.  I was already familiar with Brene Brown's work, through reading her book, The Gifts of Imperfection (which is one of the best books I've ever read).  I watched the TED Talk video on Tuesday morning and it really moved me.  I was so excited about the messages throughout the video that I decided to share it with a few friends and dive in a bit more....

Last night I had my friend Rachel over for dinner.  I was glad Rachel was able to come over because I had been feeling anxious and down inside that day, and needed the company - especially on a Saturday night.  I shared with her about about the video.  We sat there for 20 minutes and watched it, and afterwards we engaged in one of the most authentic, real conversations I'd had with anyone in a LONG time.  Rachel shared with me about her challenges with work and dealing with terminally ill patients - and having to be strong all the time in order to care for them, and bottling up all of her pain and empathy that she felt for them.  Rachel shared stories about a few patients that brought both of us to tears.  I was able to share some of my worries and pains as well.  I was so grateful that this conversation happened.  It needed to happen - for both of us. 

The coolest part of last night was that after Rachel left, I no longer felt sad or alone.  I felt at peace, happy, content, and relaxed.  I went to bed and got the best 9 hours of sleep I've had in a weeks.  I woke up this morning feeling confident about the day ahead.  It was as if my anxiety just went away.

How often do you try to numb the painful or fearful emotions you have inside?  What do you think would happen if you stopped the numbing and leaned into the discomfort?

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