Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vulnerable

I don't like to cry in public. I don't like doctors. I talk nonstop, but there are certain things (LOTS of certain things) that I tell very few people. Like who I might have a crush on, for example. Okay, so that one was kind of blown last semester and a bunch of people found out, but usually that's pretty top secret information. As open as people may think I am, I'm really not. In fact, if you knew me really well you'd probably be quite surprised by how many people who think they know me don't know me at all. You might think I'm outgoing, but if you asked my mom she would tell you I'm actually shy. I think one thing I've learned I'm learning as I venture out into the world of independence is accepting my vulnerabilities.

I crave perfection. I cried when I accidentally ran my first red light. I bawled like a baby when I broke a big yellow bowl that my dad had had since before he and my mom got married - and the bowl had absolutely no sentimental value. My mom even made a celebration out of me getting my first F on a test. Looking back, I think she was just trying to distract me so my perfectionist self wouldn't have a complete breakdown. Although perfection is a worthy aspiration - in my opinion it is what we should all be striving for - sometimes our focus on becoming perfect makes us feel unworthy. Unworthy of friendship. Unworthy of love. Unworthy of...well, just about anything.

Before you freak out and worry about my emotional well-being, I'm all good. Don't fret. This post is inspired by an afternoon alone in the office watching Ted Talks. Most of them were "ehh", a few were interesting, but one in particular captured my attention. So much so that I took notes. Brene Brown delivered a message called The Power of Vulnerability. It's just over 20 minutes long, but totally worth the time spent.

Mrs. Brown...Dr. Brown? studies human connection. Our ability to relate to one another. Our ability to feel loved. I don't know of a single person who likes to feel vulnerable. It's a terrible icky feeling, isn't it? But don't we all feel vulnerable at times? Dr. Brown explained what she found to be the difference between those that feel connected and those that struggle to feel connections. In order to feel those connections that we all so deeply desire, we must embrace our vulnerabilities. We aren't perfect, and we have to embrace it! It's okay that I ran that red light, it was an accident. It's okay that I dropped the yellow bowl. It's okay that I've gotten bad test grades. It's okay that I've messed up. I'm not perfect.

Your vulnerabilities are what make you beautiful, and they are completely necessary. Be willing to say I love you first. Do something where there are no guarantees. Invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. You never know until you try, right? In my experience, it's worth it: even when things don't work out. Are there days when I feel like my relationship with my ex was a total waste of time and I wish it never happened? Yeap. But there are more days that I realize how much that experience taught me. How much I am who I am because of things I experienced. In the video that spurred this whole rant, Dr. Brown points out that we can't selectively numb our emotions. If you numb the sadness, the pain, the hurt...all the bad stuff, then you also numb the JOY, the happiness, the love...all the good stuff. We're always trying to get rid of the bad, but sometimes we just need to embrace it. It's okay to be sad (a lesson Megan taught me repeatedly this year).

We're always trying to perfect everything. I loved the part of the video where Dr. Brown talks about becoming a parent. She says it isn't a parent's job to perfect their child. It is their job to show the child that he or she is worthy of their love despite his or her imperfections.

Being imperfect takes guts. Admitting that you're imperfect isn't fun, nor is it always easy. Dr. Brown encourages people to have the courage to be imperfect. She defined the original meaning of courage, the meaning it had from when it was first added to the English language: telling the story of who you are with your whole heart. Don't you just love that?! I want to be courageous. I want to tell my story. And in small ways, this blog has enabled me to do just that.

Have the courage to be imperfect.
Have compassion for yourself - and others.
Let go of who you think you should be, and allow yourself to be who you are.
Embrace vulnerability.
Let yourself be seen deeply.
Love with your whole heart.
Practice gratitude and joy.
Believe you are enough...because you are.



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