July 6, 2011

Are You Vulnerable? I Know You Are But What Am I?

Lean into discomfort. I'm inspired by that idea. Oh, and the fact that I'm inspired by something? Means you should brace yourself.

Dr. Brené Brown talks about discomfort in her spiel about The Power of Vulnerability. She says vulnerability is at the core of our shame, fear, guilt, grief, and struggle for worthiness—and probably insanely bizarre fetishes, although I'm not going to say which insanely bizarre fetish so you don't think I'm picking on you, or so I'm not the first to tell you that the fetish you revel in most is insanely bizarre—no, I wouldn't even bring that up. Obviously. Ahem, so this core of vulnerability is also the birthplace of creativity, joy, belonging, happiness, hope, gratitude, and love. Think of it as, Out of a nasty, slimy oyster springs a double fudge chocolate cake.

People with a strong sense of belonging, love, and worthiness are "whole-hearted" people, and they also have these things in common: courage, compassion, and connection—plus a willingness to let go of who they thought they should be to be who they are. Which is totally where "to be or not to be" comes from. Shakespeare was whole-hearted, though he probably wasn't the whole of who he said he was. More like a pseudonymous shell for other-hearted Bards. With fetishes. But stop distracting me.

Brené Brown says that making connections with other people is why we're here. Also to enjoy ice cream and cookies, but treats weren't part of Brené's study. She says to allow connections with other people, you have to allow yourself to be seen, and for deeper connections really seen, which leaves you wide open and vulnerable, sometimes excruciatingly so. Cuz like, what if they notice your flaws? I totally have this weird freckle on my back. What if someone sees it and gets all judgey? But it's not just being seen physically; it's revealing who you are inside as a person. For instance, how did those insanely bizarre fetishes come about? Who instilled them into you, and was he ever prosecuted? And why have you embraced them as your go-to means of, you know, satisfaction?

I think I'm a whole-hearted person. Whole-hearted people fully embrace their vulnerability. Check! I admit, I am often right out there, pretty much letting it fly. Though good manners do rein me in. Usually. When I have self-doubts, it's not easy to blast through them, but I know I gotta if I really want something.

Whole-hearted peeps believe their vulnerability is neither comfortable nor excruciating, just necessary. Check! Like when you need to go from A to Z, you have to stomp on LMNO to get there and you can't be all squeamish about it.

Whole-hearted peeps are willing to do something, to risk being vulnerable, without a guarantee of the outcome. Check! Like I'm seeing this guy, and OMG, who knows how it could end up. He could have three wives in four different countries. One in a Gobi Desert tent cultivating an insanely bizarre fetish; one swinging from the tree canopy in the Amazon—herself an insanely bizarre fetish; and one buried in two places. Still, I feel compelled to engage in judicious risk-taking anyway because, well, I like him. A lot. And I own my story here, as Brené says. Plus maybe I just want what I want when I want it. That has been said about me before… with that tone.

Thing is about vulnerability, you can't selectively numb out of it. You can't numb yourself to what makes you feel bad without also numbing yourself to what makes you feel good. Plus, pretty sure feeling vulnerable means you're alive, and human. Probably. Of course, I numbed out once and totally screwed myself into thinking I was going to die. At any moment. Never having enjoyed a single insanely bizarre fetish. Well, I wouldn't call it insane.

All that to say, be brave and lean into your discomfort, people, and then you can lean into joy. I hope we've all learned something here today.
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35 comments:

Pastor Sharon said...

This post is resonating with me today. I continue to find it interesting when and where I choose to lean into my discomfort zone.

Isn't it unique how we sometimes allow others to determine who we are, if we aren't balanced with ourselves.

As one who is confident 99% of the time, I have found myself tipping the balance of that as of late and it is starting to get on my nerves.

Guess it is time to let go and just be!

Lisa said...

I'm trying to learn, but then you keep bringing up fetishes and you swear you're not picking on me, but I'm feeling vulnerable. And picked on. Where's that discomfort? I need to lean on something.

Red Shoes said...

Being vulnerable... do we dare risk really showing others who we are? What if we are rejected for that?? What if they don't like us??? What if we become a target of their ridicule????

Those are chances we take...

There are things that happened during my divorce that still affect me... still cause me to be severely inhibited... for fear that someone will think negatively of me.

That's just Life...

We have to let our guards down from time to time and take chances...

Great topic!!

~shoes~

Eva Gallant said...

I'm extremely uncomfortable about your bizarre fetishes!

rory said...

Shit.
I don't get it.
I was on a flight recently, and after a couple of beers I went aft to use the head and I noticed the attendant/stewardess was reading something called "What Men REALLY Want In Women".
When I came out and headed back to my seat I saw she was actually highlighting parts of the text.
Like she was studying.
And I don't know, but that just made me sad.
I mean, you chicks are really trying to figure us out from books? Written by chicks?
It's real easy- men LOVE women who'll love them.
We're pretty simple that way.

Watercolor said...

So. Hard. oy

That Janie Girl said...

I'm like you in that I'm out there. Sometimes so far that my mouth overtakes my ass. Or vice-versa.

But i'm pretty vulnerable, too.

I LOVE people. I think I'm whole. And then, I'll get out of my comfort zone, and sometimes I feel out of balance.

So, maybe not so whole.

Gaelyn said...

All excellent advice. I just never thought of this as being vulnerable, just honest with self and others. Well, OK, not so honest as to get punched out by somebody Really big and bad. ;)

Anonymous said...

All can be

slommler said...

I have released myself from being regulated by what others' think of me. I feel that freedom!
I opened my wings and have been flying.
I love it!!
Hugs
SueAnn

daisyfae said...

i find that allowing glimpses into my various 'broken' parts allows others (on occasion) to relax a bit. show me yours and i'll show you mine.

but hey, leave my goat out of it!

Fred Miller said...

When I was a small boy, I was extremely attracted to women in their thirties and forties. Twenties was too young for me even when I was eight. But I LOVED the cougars. And that hasn't changed. Now that I'm in my forties, I'm still attracted to the 30s and 40s. It's fun. Probably won't be much fun when I'm eighty.

injaynesworld said...

"Lean into your discomfort." I've never heard that one before. I like it. Very thoughtful and well-written post, my friend. I wish you everything you want out of this new relationship.

meleah rebeccah said...

I definitely think, I'm a whole-hearted person, too.

Captain Dumbass said...

All I can think of is fetish jokes.

Breathe said...

Joy finds us when we stop hiding.

Linda Medrano said...

I think being older has enabled me to say "Screw 'em if the can't take a joke". When I visit certain people, I know when they are being genuine. And I love that! They aren't posturing or posing behind a mask. They are the real deal.

In real like, I like my people like that too. I love honesty and find it totally charming even when it's bad stuff. I don't really care enough to try and be someone else. If you don't like me, move on.

I didn't used to feel this way at all. I used to care too much about what other people thought of me.

Cheeseboy said...

This woman is full of wisdom and truth. I can tell that she resonates with many.

Now about this strange freckle on your back...

Silver Strands said...

Just found you through Cheeseboy ... love your blog! I'm now your newest follower.

Irish Gumbo said...

Amen. Testimony out there!

I'm leaning pretty hard into it, because I want that joy, too.

Fragrant Liar FTW!

Vodka Mom said...

I'm in my bed and covered in my comforter of discomfort. It's scary, but marvelous all in one.

Vodka Mom said...

(Just what I needed today.)

otin said...

If all of our phobias, faults, fears, and vulnerability mean that we are alive and human then I am VERY alive and VERY human! lol

Bella said...

it is all about the connections we make!

the only real discomfort standing in one's way of this...diarrhea!

secret agent woman said...

I'm an openly vulnerable person most of the time. But hey, I like slimy raw oysters AND chocolate cake, so win-win for me!

Michelle Wells Grant said...

Yay! A magnificent reminder for all of us. Thanks for the post!

Brian Miller said...

this is really good FL...i have learned to be more vulnerable through life...it is hard knowing others wont understand or even will take advantage of it...but i think too it creates space for tru living...

Bengts fotoblogg said...

Great, very nice.

TechnoBabe said...

You are a darn good writer. But, you know that, don't you? Vulnerability is troublesome and daunting. Until I met my hubby I hid behind fear and would not open to up or trust (OMG, Trust). I do understand what you are saying, we need to step up and be with the experience in order to feel sadness as well as joy. If I could I would order up a rest of my lifetime JOY and decline all sadness from now on. I hope your experience with the guy you are seeing now becomes a joyful and truthful relationship.

Jimmy said...

Strength of mind conquers all fears of fallibility and inadequacy in life. Relinquishing myself of religious guilt frees the mind and keeps the body fit and healthy.

Which brings me neatly on to the subject of fetishes. Where would you like me to begin?

Liberality said...

this is something I needed to read so thank you for posting it :)

Gaston Studio said...

Good one FL. I'm old enough to say firmly that if one doesn't take risks, one doesn't truly live.

Bee's Blog said...

I like to think that I'm at the stage of my life where I don't give a damn - what you see is what you get type of thing! Take me as I am and if you can't you don't deserve me yah dee dah dee dah...etc.... Problem is, it doesn't always work like that whichever face I put on it!

Vegas Linda Lou said...

That is exactly why I love yoga! Yoga teaches you to find the eye of the storm as you hold the asana (position). Sometimes it gets uncomfortable but you learn to hold it while maintaining calmness and peace.

I recently went to a new dentist who couldn't believe I can tolerate fillings without Novocaine. No problem--I find the place and peace and make myself comfortable there.

Jo said...

Well written and thought-provoking! (Now, about that disgusting image of an oyster spewing up chocolate cake....not so much. Blech.)