For the bigger part og my life I’ve been determined to be not weak. Over the years I’ve become more aware of what it is then that I consider being weak and I’ve found that what I feared the most was not being in control; conveying to people around me that I wasn’t in control; of failing – and maybe most of all of simply being imperfect.
Realizing this and saying it out loud makes it seem like a very irrational fear because no one is perfect and we all know that. The truth is, I rarely have any control whatsoever and when for some reason I feel uncomfortable in a situation, it’s absolutely impossible for me to hide that.
When I was younger, like ten or fifteen years ago, I was very talented at keeping my emotions well hidden and often people would have difficulties reading me and as a result perceiving me as being arrogant. I could probably have become a very successful poker player if I had pursued that career more than that one time in Israel on that very sketchy casino boat..
Getting to know myself better and accepting myself on a deeper level also sent me through a very lengthy process of coming to terms with this weakness thing. A funny thing (obviously meaning horrible and painful) is that the more accepting I was on being imperfect and vulnerable, the less able I was at keeping up appearances – and thus provoking even more feeling imperfect and vulnerable. My once poker face would turn lobster red, making me very conspicuous and incredibly uncomfortable, not to mention the heat my body was generating. For a while I actually thought I was sick or maybe I’d hit menopause fifteen years early. The heatwaves were scary.
The whole thing seemed like some kind of cruel joke, constantly rasing the bar of acceptance, really challenging my determination to accept showing vulnerability. On several occasions I’ve been leaning up against a social fobia because that would just be so much less stressful.
Well, it did get better, I guess I finally paid my acceptance dues. However, I do still get that jolt of fear from time to time and have to remind myself of letting it go all over again. This summer, with starting a new job as well as going back to school, has really been a challenge in terms of wanting to be that person who’s got it all under control, who’s completely in balance and undoubtably invincible – but accepting that that’s not always the case. Rarely, actually.
It’s been fun (again, horrible and painful) to relive this process but more importantly, I think it’s been healthy. It has reminded me of how free I feel when I let myself be vulnerable, of how many new possibilities present themselves when I change my perspective and let go of the fear of failure.
Last week I had a conversation with a colleague where we among other things shared who or what had been a great inspiration to us. She told me about Brené Brown and how much she loved her work. I was instantly intrigued and also amazed that I’ve never heard of this Brené so the next day I eagerly found her website.
And this is actually the whole reason why I’m writing this post – because it turns out that Brené Brown is all about vulnerability. She has done an amazing research job on this subject and has a way of presenting it that’s completely clear as well as full of insight and humour. She has done several speeches on TED and since I’m in no way able to pass on her knowledge in less than five hours, I’ve put one of them on here.
I really hope you’ll watch it because the value of understanding this issue of vulnerability is not just for some of us; it’s not a woman thing nor a man thing – it’s a human thing.
In case you didn’t watch the video, is there something in your life that you haven’t done because you’re afraid you’ll fail?
No seriously, I’m not going to sit here and ask questions about your life – but I do hope that you’ll give the video and what Brené has to say a chance. Maybe you’ll get inspired.
For me, being presented with this woman and her work seemed to happen as an incident of perfect synchronicity. I have been confirmed in everything that I have reflected on myself – above and beyond – and found new motivation to have the courage to be vulnerable. Even when it scares the living shit out of me.