I have a Love/Hate Relationship with this concept… ever since the first time I saw a TED Talk by Brene Brown (Click here for the talk) and my world was opened up to a whole new take on it!
Truly, I had never heard of Vulnerability in a positive connotation. I was always trying to avoid it at all costs and thought it was an evil thing LOL
What I now know is that the way that I can have the most positive and powerful things in my life (the love part of the relationship) is by stepping towards and into Vulnerability and embracing all of the uncomfortable feelings that come with it (the hate part of the relationship with it!). A necessary evil is what it has become for me.
As I write this, I am realizing that Vulnerability has a lot of relatable ties to the Comfort Zone and stretching outside of it (as mentioned in last weeks’ blog here).
I have learned that there various ways in life to step into Vulnerability and when I do, I learn new ways of doing the experience. Experiences that, in the past, may have meant avoiding Vulnerability altogether.
It reminds of times in my dating life, specifically (I know there are areas of my life but Vulnerability always comes up in the relationship side of things and with dating specifically for me!).
I will never forget my first heart-break. I am sure we can all relate to that first time we really felt our hearts were exploding into a million pieces because of the painful emotions that were surfacing. And the worst part, for my first heart break was that I felt so out-of-control. As if I could not do anything about it. So much so, that I remember physically barely being able to function.
I was in my last year of High School and with 3 months before the year was over and I would head off to College, I met the closest thing to a ‘high school sweetheart’ that I dated. He had graduated from the same school about 3 years prior and I had always known of him, he had that popular-guy reputation!
I IDOLIZED him! He was a DREAM BOAT!!
Perfect blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, fit ;), drove a manly truck, was kind, thoughtful, funny, COOL (I was 18 years old, this was a BIG deal!!) Everything I had ever imagined… and drooled over in the teen romantic comedies I watched LOL.
And to add to it, my Prom was coming up and I had a cool, good-looking, BOYFRIEND to bring as my date to the Prom! Life could NOT get any better!
We had a spring and summer of “first-love” (for me, anyways!). Prom was a blast, we visited his cottage a few times that summer with friends and family, golfed together and had great date nights! I was close with his mom and dad and sisters and it was the time of my life!
It was 5 months of bliss… until it all came crashing down. (To this day I don’t believe we broke up for any real tangible reason. And its really here nor there).
What I want to touch on is what it did to my world.
… It literally ROCKED it!! It was weeks before the summer came to an end and I would head off to college. I spent the first two days of the break up in bed; awake crying or sleeping. I had no appetite. I was a lifeguard and swim instructor at the local pool and I remember going to teach lessons feeling completely numb. It was like my body was there and present but my mind was on another planet.
Why I share this story is especially because of what took place afterwards.
Into my college years and early adult years in the workforce I dated and kept looking for my prince charming … lol. I put myself back out there. There was just one difference from “Prom Boyfriend” days.
This time, I was dating very cautiously…if that’s the best word to describe it!
And by cautiously I mean; I was either dating guys who I was minimally invested in, who I knew felt ‘safe’ to date because I liked them, but not nearly close to how I felt about “Prom Boyfriend”. I didn’t feel the Vulnerability aspect much. The other spectrum was; I would date someone until right around the 6 month mark and then I’d Peace the F out!! Just as the feelings started to grow stronger and the relationship could take a more serious path.
In a nutshell; I would PUMP the Breaks on Vulnerability.
I felt SO vulnerable and out of my comfort zone when I dated “Prom Boyfriend”. I was experiencing a relationship at a whole new level, I was experiencing so much joy, happiness and connectedness (that an 18 year old new to the dating world can have LOL). It was all so wonderful and vulnerability was the key. I was allowing myself to step into the unknown, to let my heart be exposed.
One of the key concepts that Brene Brown talks about in her research with Vulnerability is that Worthiness, Self-Worth is directly attached to Vulnerability.
The last few years I have read more about Vulnerability and have come to see so many positive things that come from being vulnerable when I have taken the courage steps, said the words that I was afraid to communicate to others, etc. To put myself back out on the ‘dating market’ in December of last year, this time allowing someone in who I knew felt WAY riskier to date than many of the guys from my past (story in video above).
Yet it was also the first time, in a LONG time that I felt SO incredibly worthy and deserving of dating someone with the type of personality traits, lifestyle, accomplishments and otherwise that he had. I felt worthy of and deserving to venture down that avenue and knew that no matter what happened, I would come out of it extremely proud for taking the steps into Vulnerability and out of my comfort zone. And after some pain and emotional release, that is absolutely how I feel looking back on that December 2017 dating experience!
Because the one thing I do know, is that on the other side of Vulnerability are some of the best things in life! And now, I have stepped back into Vulnerability in Dating and am that much closer! 🙂
I think Brene sums it up best here, so I will end off with this powerful quote that perfectly describes the other side of Vulnerability:
“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace” – Brene Brown
I encourage you to take a step towards Vulnerability the next chance you get and trust that you are SO Worthy and Deserving of Love, Connectedness and Belonging!!