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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Being Vulnerable Isn't Weak, Quite The Opposite

The other day I watched a TED video on YouTube (I love me some TED talks) and became completely enamoured with Dr. Brene Brown. I highly encourage you to sit back and be amazed, amused and moved by what she has to say. Go. Watch. I'll wait for you to finish. Maybe I'll do my nails or something....

 Wasn't that wonderful?

When she spoke about shame and the "I'm not (fill in the blank) enough," I thought she'd crawled inside my head and read all my secret, shameful thoughts. Not the ones where I spend too much time thinking about shoes and what I'll wear when I go on the fourth hour of the "Today Show" when I promote my book. No, the deeply buried thoughts where I believe I'm a fraud on the verge of being found out, where I'll never amount to anything (you can see how much I must trust you to share this secret shame with you) and that I'm lacking in whatever that elusive something is that makes you lovable.

In my relentless pursuit of perfection I don't always allow myself to be seen warts and all. What she says that separates people like me from the "whole hearted" she talks about, is they allow themselves to be less than perfect.

Embracing being less than perfect. That's hard for me. And many of you I suspect.

The sneaky thing about perfection seeking is that on the exterior you can look pretty cool with things. I (as I was reminded of today :) do not obsess about perfection in my home. I don't care if my house isn't perfect, it's not filthy by a long shot, but I'd rather be writing, reading, being with people than scrubbing the corners. My car isn't neat as a pin, and while I love fashion, I don't always look like I popped out of a band box (which by the way I don't know the meaning of but my mom used to say it).

No, my perfection seeking is hidden from the world. It's the nagging voice that on a daily basis tells me that I'm doing it wrong. And it can be anything from parenting, to writing, who I choose to love, how I am not earning enough money, am I pretty enough, thin enough....and on and on and on. Yes, my brain is a very busy and scary place.


It's not easy to admit this, but my goal is to try to become like the whole hearted and be authentically okay with my imperfections, and by doing so encourage others to as well. To know that I am wonderful. Just as I am. Dust bunnies, crumbs, a run in my stocking and all.

Allowing yourself to be seen is scary. Really scary for some of us. But the alternative of numbing myself from vulnerability isn't an option. You can't avoid your feelings. The beer and banana nut muffin we may choose to self-medicate with as Brown mentions, doesn't work in the long run. We can't selectively numb one feeling without numbing them all. If' you try to avoid feeling sad, mad, love, fear you just sort of shut down. It's all connected.

So my goal is to be okay with all the feelings. And that includes fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, and to realize I, and you are worthy of love and belonging. That's it.

Yeah, sounds simple, but I know I have a lot of work to do. I think the first step is looking in the mirror and saying, I'm not perfect, and that's perfectly fine.

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