Doing the one thing I feared the most, in front of an entire audience. Putting myself out there after being hurt. Telling him I loved him for the first time. These are the vulnerable moments that make us who we are.
In her Ted Talk by the title of The Power of Vulnerability, Brené Brown shares her research on the topic of vulnerability and those who choose to embrace it as opposed to run from it.
During this research, Brené discovered two main secrets.
1. Open Doors
When people embrace vulnerability they will find doors of opportunity at every turn. The one thing that keeps us from trying new things, taking risks, or following our dream is fear. Fear of failure, not being enough, looking like a fool. In short, fear of being vulnerable.
If we instead would grab ahold of this uncomfortable feeling and use it to guide us toward a life filled with new and exciting adventures, we would be completely transformed.
2. You Can’t Just Numb Fear
Our generation is the most addicted, obese, and medicated group of people in all of history. We go to any lengths necessary to numb these feelings of fear, rejection, and vulnerability. The problem is that when you numb your emotions you numb them all.
In our efforts to remove the feeling of vulnerability, we’ve removed all the joy, self-pride, and courage that life has to offer.
I can speak for myself that vulnerability has been one of the most influential tools in creating who I am today.
As a child my greatest fear was math. I dreaded the thought to such a degree that it would almost make me sick. At the age of 12, I decided that I would kill this fear once and for all by preforming a verbal, on the spot math test before an audience. This was by far one of the most embarrassing and frightening moments of my childhood. Yet, through this experience, I learned that failures are the greatest opportunities to grow and that allowing myself to look like a fool for the pursuit of self-improvement is actually a win.
At the age of nine, I was told by a very influential adult figure that I should never sing in public. This broke my soul and paralyzed me from singing for many years. One day it hit me that I didn’t sing for other people, I sang for myself. Being vulnerable was worth it for me because I loved singing regardless of whether anyone else enjoyed it.
Love can be a frightening experience, especially when you’re young and it’s your first time. I remember being scared to death the first time I said those three little words, yet I still did it. Looking back now I can see that putting myself out there and saying exactly what I felt may not have resulted in a happily ever after but I did discover that being me was more important than any other person’s opinion of me.
These are the kinds of moments that make us who we are. Vulnerability is a gift that comes to us in the form of thorns, yet hold the most beautiful roses that life can offer.