As I was going on my walk trying to figure out what to write my first blog about, I realized I can’t really speak about much without talking about vulnerability. I recently made the difficult decision to leave my corporate job in accounting to get my life coach certification. I knew there would be opinions from others on my decision to leave what many would consider a secure job to pursue a road less traveled to do what I have always felt compelled to do.
What I discovered during 2020 when our world was practically shut down from a pandemic is the fragility of life and how unpredictable it can be. I realized I needed to take this leap of faith with it possibly not working out, than to live with the regret of never trying.
The next major decision that I have been grappling with was whether I should share my personal story about living with bipolar disorder in order to help the people I wanted to help most. This has been very private for me in the past. Although most of my family and close friends were aware, disclosing this publicly makes me feel terrified. The fear was so intense, it made me want to stop moving forward on this journey and turn back around to a safe existence where there wouldn’t be judgement or ridicule.
As I was processing the fear and anxiety this was creating in me, I realized that I didn’t want to simply exist, I wanted to truly live. And that I didn’t come this far, only to come this far. People will judge regardless of what you do, it is actually human nature. I reminded myself, when people make judgements, their judgments have more to do with them than it has to do with me.
The idea that my work can help others who may be going through what I went through back then propelled me into making this decision to share my story. There are those who are living through things they are not able to put into words or get help with because they are stuck inside their own darkness. So with much trepidation, I am allowing vulnerability into my life.
Merriam-Webster defines vulnerable as easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally; or open to attack, harm, or damage. From that definition, you would think, why would anyone on earth sign up for that? However, what I have learned over the years is that being open to vulnerability creates a much deeper level of emotional connection with the people in your life who have earned your trust for you to share your vulnerabilities.
When I embrace vulnerability instead of run away from it, I allow myself to live life to the fullest. I choose to feel the full spectrum of emotions, to take all the ugly with the good. Because without feeling pain, fear, and disappointment; I would not be able to completely feel love, joy, and gratitude.
I understand vulnerability is not for everyone, it definitely wasn’t for me at first and I am still treading very lightly with it. And please don’t get me wrong, vulnerability does not mean sharing everything with everyone. People have to earn the right to hear your story because our stories are not meant for everyone.
As I say this, I realize in writing a blog for potentially anyone to read, there is not a way for me to filter whether someone can hold the space for me and the things I have to say. But to potentially reach the people who may find this helpful in some way, I am willing to take that risk.
People in today’s society often consider vulnerability as a weakness. And everyone wants to be viewed as strong, not weak. When we associate vulnerability with weakness, we are teaching future generations to disassociate from something that can be of significant importance to the quality of their lives.
From this way of thinking, what tends to happen is how they feel internally does not match with what they think they need to present to the world externally. Ultimately, not believing it is okay to live authentically. As a result, they lose out on the power of connection. Connection, in and of itself, can be the one thing that brings this world together in a way it has never been before.
(Brene Brown's video below taught me the significance of vulnerability and inspired me to change my view of life)