I have always had an interesting relationship with vulnerability. Starting out my career in a very type A, ambitious culture I had taught myself that the only way to show up at work was without emotion. I needed to have all the answers all the time, there was no place for imperfection and that my only purpose in life needed to be my clients. I struggled with this world view as my heart truly believed that another way of living, even thriving and having a career was possible. I wanted to show up with my own beliefs and be surrounded by real people with authentic lives. My heart yearned for relationships and friendships where we could be honest about our struggles and what’s not working and for many years in my 20s I struggled hard to find it.
Fast forward to my life today and I feel my world is completely different. My teams at work value me as a human being and I have friendships where I can speak from my heart. More importantly, I have come to believe that vulnerability is one of the core fabrics that make up my life. The more I can open my heart, share my triumphs and my struggles, the more genuine my relationships are with myself and with the people around me. And yes, I have also learnt to have better boundaries on how vulnerable I can and should be in different situations. I have learnt that more often than not the risks are worth it when it comes to living a rich, full life though sometimes sharing my story has brought more pain than calm.
Here is how vulnerability has shown up in my life –
- Getting screened for breast cancer thrice, once during my pregnancy and finding the courage to listen to the test results (Thankfully the results were always negative)
- Hiking solo in areas without a cell phone coverage
- Giving birth, with several incredible people I was meeting for the first time in my life. Letting them see parts of myself literally I never thought I’d do – physically, emotionally, spiritually. I had several times told my husband I wanted a C section because I was struggling with having the hospital staff help get this baby out of my body
- Telling one of my closest friends that I was missing her support in the early days of my blog writing. Not knowing how she’d take my feedback even after years of a rich friendship felt emotionally risky. I am glad I asked for what I needed! Thanks dear friend for always being there.
- Owning up several times to myself and to others that I struggled hard, very hard to find what I wanted to be when I grow up and not giving up to find the answer…
- Telling my husband that it’s my ego that is creating trouble at various times of conflict
- Letting my son play with all kinds of real food and making our kitchen REALLY messy and wondering if I am doing the right thing when I don’t know any other parent giving their toddler that kind of freedom
- Trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage
- Getting my yoga certification
- Working with a therapist when I was struggling. Saying no to her when I realized it wasn’t the right fit for me
- Calling up my mom in the midst of my pregnancy with big tears, lots of them feeling incredibly scarred of the change in my life. Being okay with still crying when I feel overwhelmed and calling my mom, calling a dear friend and telling her that I am not okay and I need a hug.
- Telling the whole world I had a miscarriage. Telling the whole world I struggled with postpartum anxiety.
- Starting this blog, not knowing if I’d have anything meaningful to say, not knowing if anyone would care to read it, not knowing what people would think about me when they would read my blog
These experiences took courage. Even as I type them back some after many months and years, I feel a knot in my stomach, I can see my breath going faster as fear shows up. It isn’t easy to live my truth and then share my truth. When I look back at this transition, one of the key people who has played a role in this shift in my thinking is Brene Brown. Her TED talks here (over 23M views) and here have been truly life-changing if I can give myself permission to say so. Listening to her talk and learning more about her work gave me the freedom to access my own vulnerability and more importantly to find the courage to speak my truth when fear takes over (which it always does!!). Her books have truly inspired me on my path and I am eagerly looking forward to reading her latest book, Rising Strong.
Thank you Brene for being such a beautiful gift in my life. I am a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and employee because of the work you do!
I am writing this post primarily to share Brene Brown’s new online course Living Brave Semester that starts on 1/11 where she will be providing an opportunity to explore what it means to fully show up in our lives – to be brave, lean into vulnerability, and to rumble with the challenges that come with living a daring life. I just signed up for this class and thought of sharing with all of you as well. You can use the code “COURAGE” to get a 20% discount in the class. This isn’t an affiliate link which means I DON’T get compensated in any way if you sign up. This is truly a gift of love that I hope to share with you.