Vulnerability. When you hear the word, maybe you cringe, maybe you picture an infant or an animal that is so dependent on their mother or father for survival, maybe you envision something else entirely. In any case, I'd guess you probably aren't associating the word vulnerable with many good things.
I sure as hell don’t. I think of the naïve, impressionable Simba right after his father saved him from the herd of wildebeests - all to find out that Scar, his uncle, in fact, killed his papa, Mufasa - spoiler alert! In such a time of distress, sorrow, and grief, Simba listens to his blood uncle - albeit his scheming and genuinely evil blood uncle. He runs away believing that not only was he responsible for his own father’s death, but that the pride wouldn’t accept him because of this illicit fact. You can’t get any more vulnerable than that.
As some of you reading this may know, Ian and myself have started a podcast called Journeymen, and on an earlier episode my brother-in-law, Ethan, challenges the listeners (as all guests do on their featured episode) to act on, or at a minimum contemplate an area of potential improvement in their life. Ethan goes into detail about how being vulnerable is a good thing and encourages us all to be vulnerable - gasp! - in order to grow as an individual. (You can listen to the full episode if you so choose here)
In the moment, I didn’t have the wherewithal to breakdown exactly what he was laying out in his challenge to listeners. For those that religiously read our blogs (I applaud you), you know that one area of struggle throughout my life has been “tooting my own horn” - and for those that aren't religious in their reading, well, now you know! I have never been the type of person to go out of my way to share and talk about me, myself, and I. It takes a great deal of poking and prodding by friends and family to get something out of me, ultimately resulting in the person ceasing their questions, gathering my perceived disinterest (which isn’t actually the case, but I get it). But, reflecting back on Ethan’s challenge later that same day, something resonated with me. Perhaps I am so poor at tooting my own horn because I play things extremely close to the chest and, in fact, am rarely vulnerable.
This one challenge was exactly what I needed to hear. Being vulnerable, as I have come to find out, is great.
For one, when that armor goes down, it allows you to have genuine conversations without carefully navigating through thoughts ahead of time. It allows you to be you, for the world to see. To be frank, I still struggle with this, even a month after Ethan was on the podcast and the challenge was put forth. But, it’s something that I am constantly striving towards - working to be more conscious of what I am willing to share. Having this awareness, even if I don’t express it to others, is a step in the right direction.
If anyone cares to join myself, Simba, and the other vulnerable listeners of that episode of Journeymen, please...all are welcome! Compassion, genuine intimacy, and amplified feelings of self-worth are waiting for you. Just take the first step. Be vulnerable.