The Power of Vulnerability – A Review
The first time I watched Brené Brown’s Tedtalk on the Power of Vulnerability I was inspired. Throughout my life I have observed and experienced a natural inclination to avoid vulnerability at all costs. Betrayal, rejection, or abuse was too great a risk to take. However, Brené’s research proposes that vulnerability is a necessary part of a thriving life.
After re-watching her video I reflected on the four following themes: Perfection vs. Imperfection, Compassion, Authenticity, and Rejecting fear. Keep reading for my thoughts on each theme.
“Our job is not to say look at her she’s perfect….our job is to look and say you know what you are imperfect and wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging”Brené Brown
Courage to be Imperfect
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselvesGalatians 6:3
I find satisfaction in facilitating perfectionism. I get excited about planning and organizing. It’s a trait that both baffles and impresses my husband. Even so I have come to learn too many times there is a price to always aiming toward being perfect. Perfection often times is unattainable.
For too long I believed that I was falling sort of some unattainable ideal. My inability to reach the goal suppressed any confidence and self-esteem I had. The thought of having my imperfections exposed to the world was crippling. I was therefore governed by fear.
One of the best ways to overcome a fear is through exposure. Instead of avoiding my flaws and hiding the shame, I was presented with the opportunity to accept them and share them with others. It has been freeing to realize that I no longer need to hide my imperfections.
Compassion toward Self and Others
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to GodRomans 15:7
The term projection in psychology refers to someone placing their own imperfections on a third party. An example could include getting upset with someone for being late because it reminds them of how they are always late to meetings.
Our guilt and inability to accept and love ourselves becomes a barrier to loving others. Consequently, anger with ourselves may result in us lashing out at a loved one or disappointment in ourselves may cause us to neglect friendships out of shame.
God knows all our faults and yet He still showers us with love. His mercy is a gift that allows us to live without crippling shame. Acceptance of His compassion into our own life allows us then to invite others into this same love and compassion.
Connection from Authenticity
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mournRomans 12:15
Vulnerability allows us to be authentic with each other. It is a way of breaking down barriers and inviting people into forming meaningful connections. Vulnerability is often framed as something to be avoided, but in this case vulnerability is something to be welcomed.
It is exhausting to try and fit into the mold you think people want for you. Every word or action is painstakingly analyzed over in fear that someone will become offended or disappointed. I speak from personal experience.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my most meaningful friendships developed from sharing those pieces of my life that ashamed me. It brought a feeling of safety and trust that I would have never experienced without first being vulnerable.
Conquering the Fear of Rejection
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinnersRomans 5:8
I no longer fear vulnerability. It is still nerve racking to make confessions and I still grieve over certain decisions I have made in the past. I am far from perfect, but the knowledge is no longer crippling. Rejection will never be an enjoyable experience, but I now know that both rejection and vulnerability are unavoidable.
Rejection and vulnerability are simply a part of our messy daily lives. We are all imperfect and by default we will all experience conflict at some point in life. However, it will not destroy us if we are willing to let go off our perfectionist ideals.
Rejection will not be the end of our story unless we chose to reject the love and grace that God has provided. You have already been accepted. The King of the Universe as declared you to be cleansed. Accept it.
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