A few years ago, my brother shared a Ted Talk with me that changed my life.
As I watched, I realized that I had a tragic flaw. (Every time I hear that I think of 9th grade English Literature class learning what the term hamartia meant. Anybody else remember that??)
I was known as a strong, put together, and exemplary leader. Someone who gave advice to lost souls. Someone who reached out to strangers. And someone who people looked up to.
There was so much chaos inside of me. AND I DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT.
I have always been blessed to make friends easily. But… that idea of being alone in a crowd couldn’t be more real. But that was how it was. I didn’t really mind or realize it shouldn’t be that way. I couldn’t seem to be able to have a deep, intimate relationship. I fixed other’s relationships all the time…. And yet, where was my perfect relationship?
This Ted Talk was a paradigm shift for me. I had always been the perfect girl who people seem to worship. I was Supergirl. I suddenly realized that I was internally a scared little girl. Afraid to truly connect. I was afraid of rejection and afraid of being seen. My flaws? People joked that I had none. And I played that role because it seemed to help them open up to me. And one thing I love? I LOVE helping people. I love listening and helping people grow and heal. And when they saw me as a hero, they let me help them. I felt that I couldn’t reveal my own struggles. That was a firmly rooted personal belief.
This talk suddenly showed me – I wasn’t vulnerable. Like ever. EVER. I never put myself in a position where I was vulnerable.
Why? Man, that will have to be broken down into SO many posts!
God must’ve known I was finally ready to face this because he put one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. A best friend who refused to let me retreat. Someone who read me like a book and could see when I was hiding or hurting. As hard as I tried to hide, he saw me. And slowly but surely, I began to crave being seen. I wanted someone to know how I felt.
In this Ted Talk, she talks about having the courage to be imperfect. Letting go of who I thought I should be to be who I am. You couldn’t ask for something harder for me. Man, I learned there was a lot of personal roadblocks with this! But we’ll talk about this later.
I went through the next few years painfully trying to learn how to change this seemingly core part of myself. And I wanted to share a few tips on learning how to be vulnerable. Am I perfect at being vulnerable? No. But am I learning as I go? Yes.
4 Tips to Begin the Journey of Vulnerability
Ask yourself, “Are you worthy of love and belonging?” This is one of the questions that can help you to find the underlying reasons of why you built up walls. “Why are you afraid of being vulnerable? Why are you not worthy of love and belonging?” Finding this will help you know where to start.
Who do you know that you can have as your vulnerability companion? Someone who you can open up to and tell what you’re thinking. Express grief, shame, fear, and pain to this person. Is this a therapist? A sister? A friend? It’s SO important. And I’ll be honest. This person is in for a ride! But if they love you and are dedicated to your happiness, they’ll stick with ya.
Ask yourself, “Who do you think you should be?” Compare that to who you are. (Yes, you can make a list if you want. 😉 ) After you do this, take some serious reflection time and think about how you view yourself. If you’re like me, you may have been a little harsh and even derogatory in your comparison. Now work on loving yourself. I’ll be posting soon about Self-Love with more tips on this!
Practice gratitude. It somehow builds the ability to be vulnerable. I don’t know if I can explain all the reasons why. But it does! So keep a journal, talk to people, pray, or whatever works best for you to practice this attribute. It makes a difference.
If we cannot learn to be vulnerable, it means we are numbing ourselves. But you cannot numb one emotion without numbing them all. Which means you are stifling the joy you could experience. And that’s what I’m all about. Having joy in life. It’s a work in progress… but that’s ok. I think it’s supposed to be.
Leave comments below about insights you got from this Ted Talk, or about your journey of change!