I am in love with TED Talks. I honestly want to be a speaker at a TEDx conference someday. I love how engaging the speakers are on so many different topics of expertise. How acute their speeches are since they have to be done in a certain time frame. One of my favorite, most repeatedly watched TED Talks is by Brene Brown, author of “Daring Greatly.” Her talk centers around how we need to stop looking at being vulnerable as a weakness and view vulnerability as strength.
One of the things she said in her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are,” was:
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.
WOW! All of that was HEAVY. It is heavy for me because I have tended to lean on the side of hiding myself. I don’t know where this shame comes from, but I find it prevalent in women – particularly women of color too. We feel like we have to dim our light in order to let other people shine. We don’t want to intimidate. We’re afraid of judgments. We don’t want to be damaged any more than we already have experienced. But yet we want to be accepted and loved. We want to be seen deeply. We want someone else to embrace all of us – imperfections included. But how? How can we get to this place if we see vulnerability as a weakness?
Example – I have a friend who always complains that she doesn’t connect with women well. She doesn’t really have many women friends and they always end up falling out. But as I thought about it, even though I have known her a while, I don’t know much about HER. I don’t know her struggles, her triumphs, her strengths or her weaknesses. Everything I know about her is rather superficial. The Bible tells us in order to make friends, we have to show ourselves as friendly. As my fellow writer Ralinda spoke about the other day, we have to let our walls down and let others in. We are not created to walk alone. We are created for relationship with one another.
I have another girlfriend who keeps saying she doesn’t want to be in a relationship when deep down I suspect this is a coping mechanism. She is beautiful, both inside and out. But she keeps saying she attracts the wrong guys. When I talk to her and ask her what has happened, its like the same story playing out over and over. But its really not them. It’s her. And I am glad she is transparent and honest enough with herself to say that. She is judging these men through the lens of her own past hurts and bad experiences. So she thinks they’re all the same and all out to get her. She has a clouded view.
I have experienced shame, betrayal and disrespect in relationships and from friends and family members alike. I try to be wise in my dealings with people and not cast my pearls before swine. But I am learning to choose love. It is the one thing God commanded us to do that He said trumped all of the other 10 Commandments. If we walk in love, we cover all of the others. I know it is hard. I struggle D A I L Y. But I also have bigger fish to fry than to hull myself into a corner, not letting my light shine, wearing my heart on my sleeve and being offended every time somebody bats their eye at me the wrong way. Not to sound cocky, but I’m pretty damn amazing! And I would be robbing the world of all of my amazingness if I chose fear over love and instead of seeing vulnerability as strength. You too!
I am worthy. You are worthy. No matter what you have done in your past (or present). No matter what the recesses of your mind tell you. You are worthy of acceptance. But you will not get there until you become vulnerable to yourself first, then let others in.