Finding Strength in Vulnerability
It was an idle Tuesday afternoon last week at a Spin class when I finally got a hit of inspiration for this blog. (I’d been procrastinating for the past month.) Our instructor was leaving us with a nugget of wisdom that hit me like a ton of bricks, and it was then that I finally knew what to write about. During the last ten minutes of every class, our instructor turns down all the lights – minus one small candle – and allows us to surrender to the moment. Surrendering to the moment can mean different things for different people, but for me, it means closing my eyes, envisioning my higher self, and sometimes crying my eyes out.
As she allowed us to retreat into our own little worlds, she mentioned the word vulnerability. At the time, for me, vulnerability meant letting go. I thought of letting go of all the heartbreak I’ve experienced through my life, from childhood sexual abuse to losing friends. I also thought of all the things I’m grateful for: being a survivor, my amazing new job, the sacrifices my parents made for me to be successful, and everything in between. And although the room was dark and anyone could’ve easily confused my tears for sweat, I felt something so powerful welling within my soul that I couldn’t help but let the tears and emotions consume me.
When we open up our hearts and allow others to hear what we have to say, we are shining a light of hope and inspiration for them to open up and share their struggles too.
They say that to cry is to be human. Crying does not denote weakness but is, in fact, the physical release of the vast array of emotions we all carry within us that are looking for a way to be expressed. What’s even more beautiful is that crying does not have to be something you do when you’re sad. It was powerful in that moment to be vulnerable in a room full of complete strangers whom I somehow felt connected to.
In a TED talk by Brené Brown on vulnerability, she talks about how connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives our life meaning and purpose, and that in order for us to really take advantage of that connection, we have to allow ourselves to truly be seen. She refers to this phenomenon as “excruciating vulnerability” because let’s face it: being vulnerable is NOT easy, and it means not just stepping – but jumping – outside of our comfort zone. Being vulnerable means we’re letting down our walls and allowing others to see who we really are beyond the façades we put on when we’re afraid of being hurt.
In a world where we are seeing such a big disconnect in humanity, I can’t think of a better time to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is what sparked and ignited the #MeToo movement. Vulnerability reminds us that we are not alone. When we open up our hearts and allow others to hear what we have to say, we are shining a light of hope and inspiration for them to open up and share their struggles too.
I can’t sit here and say that I’ve always been good at crying in a room full of strangers or finding the courage to open up about my abuse and allow myself to heal. It has taken many years of intense soul-searching through writing, yoga, running, meditation, therapy, and a slew of other things I’ve felt drawn to as I began to accept that I could either run from my demons or slay them, and that sometimes I couldn’t slay them alone. Not every day is perfect, but every day that I allow myself to be vulnerable is a step closer to connecting with who I have the potential to be and others who need to connect with that person, too.