Being Vulnerable = Being Brave
Yesterday, a personal friend and I were having a typical conversation about life and what we had going on the previous night before. As our conversations typically do, we got distracted and moved to another topic. My friend brought up a comment that hit me really hard. It was their tone and the fact that the comment was derogatory. Usually, I let things roll off my back and can easily joke about them, but this day, the words stung. It felt like a harsh slap across the face. Tears sprang to my eyes and I walked away from the conversation. This statement hurt me. Hurt my soul. Hurt my core.
It had me thinking about their comment and why it had affected me so deeply. Then, it got me thinking about our relationships with others. When we get in relationship with another (friendship or otherwise), there is a degree of putting yourself out there, exposing your heart, and trusting that the person will be gentle with your heart as you would be with theirs. It is being vulnerable with someone. It is being brave. Brene Brown speaks about this through her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. She is quoted below. If you have not heard of her, I would highly recommend you checking out her work, TED talks, and books.
"We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them -- we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare." Brene Brown
My friend did not know that they hurt me deeply. In fact, they went off and forgotten all about the comment, however, I did not. I am a direct person. If I do not like something, then I will tell you. Likewise, if I do, then I will tell you too. This was different though because it was a wound. I talked to the person roughly two hours later. I did not want to tell them or show how vulnerable I was in that moment but I did. My voice quivered a little. I looked them in the eyes and said, “I am really hurt by the comment that was made. I do not know if I am being extra sensitive today, but regardless it struck a chord. I chose to believe that your comment was not intentional. I think the thing that hurt the most was that we have walked this journey together and I fought hard to make things work. I am not angry with you or trying to make you feel bad. But, I am hurt.” There it was. My wound was out in the open in between. Oozing. Sitting there. Waiting to be acknowledged. I showed the deck in my hand to my friend. It is a testimony to being vulnerable because this could go any which way. It could go positively or negatively. Being vulnerable is being brave. The friend touched the wound and apologized, however, this has not always been the case in my life.
Regardless the outcome, I always applaud others and myself when they are able to take a risk, show their “wound”, and let themselves be. I have learned how to be gentle with my own heart. Thus, I encourage you to be gentle with your own heart. Give yourself self-love. Allow yourself the time to acknowledge that a wound is there and sit with it. Be vulnerable. You are brave. Xo