“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
~Charles R. Swindoll
I mean, wow! How brilliant is that quote! That’s precisely why we really need to remove judgment from any event that comes our way. The event is neither good nor bad, it is only how we choose to perceive it. Don’t waste your power by allowing negative balloons to take you out of the now. And with that, I would like to segue into the linchpins of personal growth, Trust and Vulnerability. First, this post is inspired by Daring Greatly by Brenè Brown. It is an incredible book that is the Holy Grail on this topic. Please read it if you get a chance. I am merely scratching the surface here.
Vulnerability is bad, right? It means weakness. It means we’re not strong. WRONG! It’s the opposite. Brenè Brown defines it as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” Weakness? HAH! To live with those three things is true STRENGTH. Being vulnerable is the only way to live. The way I like to think of vulnerability is to imagine ripping your heart out of it’s protective shell and attaching it to the front of your chest, completely exposed. Could you imagine? Haha, what a scary thought. But that’s vulnerability. Brenè calls it living wholeheartedly. Going all in. And it’s about time we all start getting vulnerable if we want to make some serious leaps in life. This blog isn’t called Bryce’s Mundane Crap Experiment. It’s called Bryce’s GRAND Experiment. Let’s rip out our hearts, show the world what we’ve got and hide from nothing ever again.
The key to this is to first acknowledge when we aren’t living wholeheartedly. Most of us just hide. How are you hiding? I hid behind laughter. I figured if I could make people laugh they would never see my “weaknesses.” I remember being in Costa Rica with my friend/boss on a business trip. We met some of his UPENN Wharton grad buddies who wanted to discuss developing medical tourism. I off-handedly made some points about the infrastructure in Costa Rica and what we could do as a private company to change that. I got their attention. Then I got scared. I proceeded to retract my heart back into my chest, ordered a round a shots and joked about the waitress. Unreal! My buddy came to me after and asked why I had backed down from what could have been an incredible idea. I had no answer. The truth? I was afraid of being vulnerable. Who was I to talk business with grads from the #3 business school in the country? I’m a joker! I make jokes, my ideas have no merit! Yikes! Those thoughts honestly went through my head. It’s hard to imagine now but that was my reality back then. You really need to begin to look at how you pull back in life. What you shy away from. What emotions you don’t show because you think it is weakness. If I was living vulnerably, I would have told them every idea I had, without fear of judgment and laid it all on the table. Results be dammed! All you can do is show your heart to the world and let the cards fall where they may.
To me, vulnerability means: acknowledgement of your TRUE feelings, telling the truth, talking about the scary emotions (jealousy, fear, self-worth, regret, guilt, etc.), admitting you were wrong, putting yourself in the lions den, telling the world your “brilliant” ideas, writing a blog, loving yourself completely, loving others, LOVE, acting, being a parent who admits they don’t have all the answers, asking for help, needing help, knowing when to say when, allowing for a “me day,” acknowledging the system isn’t working for you, letting judgements pass through you, being afraid, trying everything without judgment, taking back your power, FEELING THE UNIVERSE WITHIN!!! Vulnerability is LIVING! It is a hell of a ride and it hurts and it is scary but when this journey is all over, you can say, “Welp, the world saw my heart on the outside of my chest. I shined love and beauty to everyone I came in contact with, good or bad. I was true to myself. It got dirty, it got bruised, it got beat up, but I PUT IT OUT THERE and by God, I would have it no other way!!!”
THE QUICK AND DIRTY TASK: TRUST IN VULNERABILITY
The What: Trust is the glue of the Universe. Trust is the glue that binds all other rules together. Without trust, they will all fall apart. And wouldn’t you know it, trust is probably the most difficult thing to achieve. How do I do it? I keep at it every single minute of my life. When I feel myself not trusting, I grow those balloons and pop them. Do I fully trust now? Oh, no, no, no, but I am more trusting than I thought possible. Since I became vulnerable, life has become magical. I use my power for me! I don’t give it away anymore. As for vulnerability, trust that the Universe/God/Creator/Love has your back. When we pass through vulnerability we think, “wow, that was powerful! I have nothing left to give and I am grateful. I AM FULL OF SELF-LOVE!”
The How: GO FOR IT! That’s really all there is to that. If you are afraid to talk to a loved one, talk to them NOW! Regret is brutal and sucks your power away. If you feel shame or guilt, then share with a friend who won’t judge, but get it off your chest. If you want to start a business, start it! If you want to tell someone you love them and you are terrified of their answer, TELL THEM! If you want to try ANYTHING, TRY IT! You have to or else you will completely relinquish your power. Living is power! Baring your heart on your chest for the world to see if power. RECLAIM THAT POWER.
The Why: We’ve wasted so much power by not being vulnerable. We hide behind stories, fake arguments, blame, resentment, blah blah, and we never stop and look at ourselves to see what really is causing it. Bridget was recently in a play where she had to do a stage kiss with a guy (damn actors!). I did not want to be vulnerable and say that it made me feel a weeee bit insecure. Instead, I got all pissy and was looking for excuses not to see the show. It was killing me. But I knew I had to be vulnerable and say what was really bothering me (don’t get me wrong, I loathe this process but now I refuse to give any of my power away). Well, she calmed my insecurities as she does best, I went to the show. TWICE! (just to really break through the fear) And I got to meet her 6’3, stunningly handsome, perfect haired, chiseled chin, co-star. It turned out he was an extremely kind and understanding guy. Do I still want him dead? You’re damn right I do. But at least I acknowledge it and that’s half the battle! Haha.
Be vulnerable. It’s an amazing way to live. Expose your heart and GO FOR IT! Here is the Theodore Roosevelt’s speech that inspired Brenè Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. It’s unbelievably powerful. THIS IS VULNERABILITY:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."