Recently I’ve tried a little experiment with myself and my life. It’s called: being authentic, being genuine, being vulnerable, being raw. I’m committed to doing this in my closest relationships, professionally with ethical boundaries, and publically in service of normalizing other people’s experiences.
I have spent a lot of my life feeling up on some pedestal of projection that looks a lot like: She has her shit together. She achieves. She is healthy. She’s got a one-up in the world.
Why would I possibly want to mess with that? Why would I want to say pssst actually I’ve got some serious stuff going on over here. Especially when it’s about things that are invisible, and probably no one else would know unless I tell them?
Because this projection of shiny brightness is only partially true. There is truth to it, and that’s the other part I’m committed to: not minimizing my strength, empowerment, and potential in the world. I definitely have the intention of giving the middle finger to the cultural paradigm that we can’t fully expand into our greatness.
So here’s the paradox: How do I own where I’m messy, and also own where I shine brightly? And why does all of it feel so vulnerable to talk about?
Just recently I’ve been opening up about my physical illness, among other personal things. That’s all fine and good until I leave my house, and encounter real people, especially ones who may have read what I’ve written. Suddenly I feel, well, naked. Seen. And I wonder, am I strong enough for this? This quest of sharing my truth for my own and other’s healing. Isn’t it easier to just keep my mouth/laptop shut?
Because now there are conversations. Now I’m in relationship, and people feel invited in… and they are. It doesn’t stop in sharing a little tidbit, that just opens the door. But this is how we breakdown the massive perceived wall of our own and other’s isolation. Of thinking we don’t impact or affect of others. Of thinking that we’re not constantly in relationship.
It’s right to take it seriously. I have impact. We all do. And with impact comes responsibility. To be truthful, honest, and delicate with what we share. But also to not be afraid, when and if we’re ready, to share it. Because it matters. The conversations matter. Being extraordinary, and messy, matters. We owe it to each other to try being vulnerable and seen.
As Brene Brown (I feel super pop-psych culture quoting her, but frankly she’s fabulous), in her book Daring Greatly, talks about, we don’t want to vomit our unprocessed crap all over people and call it vulnerability, because it’s not (I may have paraphrased that a bit).
So in an effort not to slime you, I check in with myself that sharing seems like the next step in our relationship. Because I want to start a conversation about our nakedness. I want to invite you in, cuddle you close, share s’mores around a campfire, and tell ghost stories about our own personal ghosts. Because chances are, our ghosts are actually dancing together, and maybe they’re not so scary afterall. But we don’t know, unless we share.
So here’s the deal:
When you get to a point of knowing there is something that seems like it must be shared with a friend, lover, partner, community, here's a couple questions you can ask yourself, like I do:
- What will be the potential harm and benefit of me sharing this right now, both to me, and to who is listening (ie. What is the impact)?
- Do I feel comfortable with this person/people knowing this about me, and that I will be seen/naked in this way?
- Do I want to have a conversation and be more intimate in relationship around this topic?
What struggles/triumphs have you had sharing something vulnerable? Is it worth it? Comment below: