How Do You Do Vulnerability?

One of my favorite authors is Brene Brown (Elizabeth Gilbert is a close second). Maybe it’s because we’re both from Texas and share a similar dust-yourself-off-and-pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of thinking. Maybe it’s because she’s brought shame out of the closet, shored it up with courage, and has helped legitimize the struggle for empowerment that so many people face. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because her fight with vulnerability mirrors my own.

Over the past four years of blogging, I’ve learned a few things about myself. I’ve learned that it’s not hard to ‘go deep’ with an anonymous audience, though it’s immensely difficult to be ‘seen’. It’s not hard to authentically connect with strangers, though I’m often challenged to be ‘known’. It’s not hard to write, though impossibly painful to publish. Most surprising to myself, I’ve learned that it’s easier to be a perfectionist than to accept the vulnerability that comes with possible failure.

At the heart of empowerment is vulnerability_square with transparent overlay_(c)But what happens when we build our lives around playing it safe? What happens when we raise or lend our voice to others, yet bury our own in the process? What happens when we dare to allow ourselves to be ‘seen’ as we truly are, in an environment where pedigree, perfection and political correctness often trump the very things that make us real?

These are the questions that keep me up at night; the demons I wrestle with daily — daring, provoking and pushing me out of my fear and into the world. These are the unspoken questions in the untold stories of millions who are silenced by their fear, or the wisdom that is lost in the silence of one’s passing.

As I reflect on these truths; as opportunities and invitations to a deeper honesty leave me wrestling with my own fear, I’m curious to ask and know…

Do you ever struggle with the vulnerability of being truly ‘seen’? How do you work through the fear of being truly known? Have you ever withheld the gift of your own story? What is your own relationship with perfectionism and failure? How do you do vulnerability?

2 thoughts on “How Do You Do Vulnerability?

  1. Vulnerability……yes, being truely seen is a challenge for me as I feel our society pressures us all to conform. I like to color outside the box and at times fear being known as unique.
    Yes, I withhold my own story as I feel few are privilaged to recieve the gift of my story.
    Perfectionism….I cant agree more. As a golfer I have learned true growth comes from going out and competing and accepting possible failure. In the past I spent too much time trying to perfect shots while now I know through defeat true growth emerges.
    We only fail when we dont dare step out and be Vulnerable.
    Thank you ! Your post caused me to dig and grow.


    1. Pete — Thank you for sharing your own challenges and experience with vulnerability and perfectionism! I think we all feel the pressure to conform, though all of us are unique, whether we choose to reveal ourselves to others or not. I do agree that when we’re indiscriminate in sharing with many, we diminish our capacity for depth of connection with a few. Still, I would suggest that when we dare to show ourselves as we truly are, we create a path forward for others to do the same.

      So glad to know that this post challenged you to dig and grow!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s