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April 20, 2019

Vulnerability Hangovers, Brené Brown & Finding Our Courage.

 

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“The vulnerability paradox: It’s the first thing I look for in you, and the last thing I want you to see in me.” ~ Brené Brown

Ahhhh vulnerability.

Once so powerless, it has become one of the most powerful words in the dictionary—and to my own life. For me, vulnerability used to be petrifying, and to this day it still has control over me.

I get what Brené Brown calls the “vulnerability hangover” almost on the daily.

Did I say too much at that party last night?

Did I really just share all of that about myself on the internet? Oh god…

Luckily enough, I also find myself absorbed in vulnerable people. From heart-opening conversations with my friends to meeting new humans on the dance floor.

I love to watch the wave of relief wash over them when they realize that, I too, am feeling just as exposed as they are.

Because I travel so much, I’m constantly in awe of finding delicate humans like this in all corners of the world and realizing I am not alone.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” ~ Brené Brown

But even in the midst of finding others living their vulnerable truth, sometimes our flaunts of vulnerability are retaliated with unkind acts of behaviour.

Nasty comments and cruel actions of false bravado can leave someone as sensitive as us feeling a sense of isolation and feeling like we’re reliving our high school experience all over again. 

“We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying.” ~ Brené Brown

What I have realized through years of being exposed to this kind of ego, is that no human being who is truly happy inside goes around making others feel bad about themselves.

They project this fake persona out into the world to avoid being rejected. Afraid and insecure people rarely treat others kindly. Misery loves company!

Once you realize this, their words and actions will roll off your soul like water off a duck’s back. These people will never, ever be happy until they are able to stand in their own truth and stop using vulnerability to shame others. 

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.” ~ Brené Brown

What I love about vulnerable people is when they feel comfortable, they put themselves right out there, raw and real for you to recognise.

When you learn to embrace the fact that you are fragile and a little sensitive, you can spot others like you from a mile away—the vulnerable ones who have been through the same pain as you have.

“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: ‘Who has earned the right to hear my story?’ If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.” ~ Brené Brown

Although they won’t make straight eye contact with you, you see something in their eccentricities, their mannerisms, the way that they move.

You know that they probably won’t come to you, so you must approach them with caution. Slowly immersing yourself into their space to let them know that you know, that it is okay to release their shame.

Like you, I am on the other side of the pain. I’m not going to hurt you.

I’m going to show you everything you can be, and in the process, you’re going to make me remember everything that I am.

That instead of walking our paths alone, we can walk them together—as cheerleaders, as friends, as lovers, or as twin flames.

And whether it lasts a moment or a lifetime, we will remind each other who the f*ck we are.

And that is what I live for.

“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

 

 

Katie Valentine

author: Katie Valentine

Image: distelfliege / Flickr

Image: Elephant Journal / Instagram

Editor: Julie Balsiger

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