I’ve always been someone who feels things deeply; as though my heart was placed on the pulse of life. Vulnerability is rooted inside of my spirit. My compulsion towards empathy and emotion and this feeling of total influence by the mayhem and wonder of the world is without a doubt a character trait I’ve had to embrace. Because I am the girl who cries in theaters and gets goose bumps from a tragic story. Because I am the girl who loves and fights and sobs and reveals and lives unabashed. I’m a girl with a tender heart.
“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” When I heard this, my heart stopped. Admittedly, I will say that this idea of strength being buried in my over-emotional self seemed ridiculous. But after continuing to listen to Brene Brown’s presentation on the power of vulnerability, where she explicitly shares her belief that to live wholeheartedly, to love fully and to embrace this life completely, we have to accept our vulnerability… I was bubbling over with agreement.
Our fear of unworthiness, the shame of being imperfect, of being alone or let down or let go of, that fear… is just a fear of disconnection. That fear is the nagging voice that questions if there is something about ourselves that would mark us as unworthy of someone’s time or even someone’s heart. Because we all feel self doubt. Because we all are flawed. But here’s the hitch. In order for connection to happen, we have to be seen… fully and completely seen… in our doubt ridden, flawed human weakness. The only thing holding us back from an authentic connection with another, with the world and with true selves is a fear of our gentle, imperfect hearts. And that’s where courage walks in.
We cannot ignore our tenderness in order to be a wholehearted, vulnerable human. We have to believe in our worth. We have to unearth our doubts and fears and feelings. We have to strong enough to have compassion for ourselves, we have to be kind to our hearts. We not only need to embrace our flawed, feeling selves, but we have to realize that vulnerability is a necessity of life. We have to be willing to love to the brim, to breath in our last conversation with a loved one, to be deeply and truly seen. Because in doing so, we find our creativity, joy for life, empathy for others and we unearth our happiness. Because to be vulnerable means to be completely alive.
To my tenderhearted readers, know that you demonstrate the courage many seek to find. You are more lionhearted than you know.