Well, that was unexpected. It’s a topic I haven’t spoken on much, at least publicly. I certainly hadn’t shared so much of myself and my journey with it. I also hadn’t given much thought to how vulnerable it might be to lead a webinar on weight loss. And I sure as shit wasn’t expecting to cry.
Vulnerability is a funny thing: it’s both terrifying and powerfully connecting. I’ve worked hard for most of my life to keep it in check; to keep it — what I thought was — safe. But what I’ve come to discover over time is that by keeping it under wraps, I miss beautiful opportunities to deepen relationships.
After the webinar, I heard from so many of you, thanking me for being authentic and real; that sharing my vulnerability touched you deeply and inspired you to do the same. It felt amazing to get these emails because my inner child was beating herself up big time for “being such a baby.” Although I would tell her that it was a beautiful moment, she was having trouble hearing it. Then she heard from all of you. And she smiled. BIG.
So what’s so scary about being vulnerable? Well, you risk being hurt, ridiculed, or judged. The more we give of ourselves to others, the more power they have. But the higher and stronger we build our walls, the more love we lose out on. So what are we to do?
Years ago, to practice being more vulnerable, I started with the safest person in my life: My wife, Melissa. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she loved me unconditionally. To break down the old belief, “You have to be strong; to have it all together. Your needs don’t matter,” I had to start by challenging it, so I began being more and more vulnerable around Melissa.
I’d share what I was feeling, ask her for help with things, cry for no reason in front of her. Each time I did this, she rose to the occasion. Surprisingly (at the time), she told me it made her feel even closer to me. Hmm. That’s odd. I’ve always told myself that by showing my “weakness,” people would leave. Belief: challenged.
The more I did this with Melissa, and then with others, the more I realized that my vulnerability is a real gift, and allows for a deep, fulfilled life. Sure, some friendships and relationships changed or ended when I was no longer the tough, go-to girl for everyone. Looking back, I see it was like a natural selection of sorts. When I stopped being only a giver, the takers fell away.
The intentional change I made back then is what allowed those tears to come up on the webinar last week. They never would have made an appearance otherwise. I’m so glad they showed up. The fact that they did shows me how far I’ve come in sharing of myself in this way. It took my vulnerability commitment to a whole new level. Little Kerri feels safer and safer to come out from hiding. Belief: almost obliterated!
So what are your thoughts on all of this? What role does vulnerability play in your life? Do you embrace it or shield it? How might your life change if you let it out a little more? Please join the conversation in the comments section below.