Alive to Vulnerability


As far as I’m concerned, Dr. Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly deserves all the hype it gets and then some. For the uninitiated, Daring Greatly is about the epidemic of shame in our society, the lie of scarcity, and the symbiotic relationship between vulnerability and shame. In the year since I read the book, I’ve seen the truth of her words everywhere. The proof is as close as my own heart.

Since I was a kid, people have been cautioning me not to get my hopes up. Understandably, no one has ever relished scraping me off the pavement when I get let down. My natural tendency to throw my whole heart into things looks a lot like foolishness, so I’ve learned to corral it. But in pursuing Alive, I’m also pursuing Wholeheartedness, and the side effect of that is more rejection and disappointment, and the knee-jerk reaction to that is shame. Of course this isn’t going to work out. Everyone knew it wouldn’t, but pitied me too much to tell me. I was stupid to hope. I was stupid to try. The more you listen to that voice, the more you shut down. Over time, shut-down becomes your new normal.

I automatically head down the shame staircase on a regular basis, but I’m quicker and quicker to stop and say, Wait a minute. I don’t have to feel ashamed about this. Shame tells us we’re worthless, we shouldn’t take risks or try new things, we shouldn’t open our hearts or give them away. So when we believe, and then behave, otherwise, shame is right there to snipe us. But in reality, we haven’t done anything wrong. We’re winning the battle, not losing it. We’re one step closer to our fullest, most alive selves.

To be fully alive, you have to be vulnerable. There’s no avoiding it. Getting hurt absolutely sucks. But in the words of Paramore, it’s not that I don’t feel the pain, it’s just I’m not afraid of hurting anymore. I’d rather be a skinned knee than a marble tomb. I’d rather live and love abundantly, getting a little beat up and looking dumb in the process, than stay behind my walls where no one can hurt me. And I think God is heartened to see us in the arena, and gives us the strength to keep fighting.

*** This post is part of a monthly One Word 365 linkup at The Messy Middle. ***

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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5 Responses to Alive to Vulnerability

  1. Esther Joy says:

    Beautiful, wonderful, breathtaking. Love love love love love this entry. Thank you for the hope in the challenge of pursuing vulnerability. <3

  2. I love this post! It’s so great. And now I really want to read that book. I know I’m guilty of feeling shame when there is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m working on it, but it’s hard once you are ingrained with that habit.

  3. Carol says:

    This is beautiful. I need to remember this.

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