Last night my husband and I were watching TEDtalks and about a dozen talks in, one came on from author Brené Brown. Her talk was on The Power of Vulnerability. My husband and I listened and I tried to get in the zone in order to really grasp what she was talking about.
Brené pointed out that the fear of vulnerability is what keeps us from connecting with others and the world around us. It keeps us from authentic relationships, and suddenly it dawned on me, she was exactly right. At that point as I continued to listen, her TEDtalk turned in to more of a sermon. I closed my eyes while she continued to speak and realized just how vulnerability or the lack of it in some of my relationships, was a huge problem.
Most people view vulnerability as being synonymous with weakness, a disadvantage, a curse. Show you’re vulnerable and people immediately assume you’re too sensitive and weak, it’s looked down upon as being an unappealing personality trait or character flaw. Brené’s talk actually inspired me and made me realize I am vulnerable, I do often act vulnerable, it does come across as me being too sensitive, and I am OKAY with that.
Too often relationships between lovers, friends, family and co-workers suffer because one or the other, or both parties, are afraid to put themselves out there. We’d rather keep things on the surface. Talk about other people, talk about the weather, the kids…anything but talk about how we really are feeling or heaven forbid we talk about how we really feel about eachother.
It’s obviously a fear of rejection, but it translates into a life full of missed connections, real conversations, authentic relationships and growth.
The next thing that dawned on me is that somewhere along the line most of the women I know and women I see or read online have decided they don’t want to come across as vulnerable. Vulnerability to them is a four letter word. Is the fact that I feel vulnerable the reason I have such a hard time relating to most women who consider themselves feminists? Can feminists even be vulnerable? Is it a coincidence that the people in my life that I have the hardest time connecting with are the ones who seem the least vulnerable?
I recognize women left and right, some I know and some I don’t, who care so much about appearing strong, opinionated, dedicated, calloused and unnerved. I also sometimes get a peek at women being honest and open. In those tiny glimpses you feel like you’ve gotten to know them better, when they’re the most open with their thoughts and emotions, no matter the topic. The problem, they often feel so vulnerable that they regret saying it or sharing it and take it back, try to undo it, and often apologize for it.
I think it’s sad if women truly feel so pressured, by whom I don’t know, society I suppose, or other women, that they can’t embrace their truly beautiful innate feminine qualities. Women were born to be strong and sensitive, opinionated and emotional, vulnerable and capable.
That’s the thing about vulnerability, just because you don’t act like you’re vulnerable doesn’t mean you aren’t. You’re just hiding yourself, your true self. Just be real.
This TEDtalk really had an impact on me and I honestly feel as though it happened at the perfect moment when I needed to hear it the most. I AM vulnerable, I am OKAY with being vulnerable, and I am okay with YOU being uncomfortable with that.
I hope this note makes sense to anyone who might read it and that you might find it insightful. I can hardly do Brené justice. Please watch the entire talk, all twenty minutes of it, and see if it doesn’t affect you in the same way.
Dare to be vulnerable, encourage others to, and don’t be apologetic for being yourself and for being real.
I’m Julie, a former cloth diaper retailer who discovered a passion for the industry. Now, instead of selling cloth diapers, I advocate them and promote small businesses I love who sell and manufacture them.
I’m the wife of a fireman and mother of three. I have a daughter and identical twin sons.