“Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.” Dr. Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
Vulnerability is a Gift from God
Common Sense would say making yourself vulnerable is letting your guard down or exposing your weakness.
And Common Sense would be wrong, says Dr. Brene’ Brown in her ‘tour de force’ Audio CD entitled, “The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage.”
Brown would contend that instead, being vulnerable is allowing yourself to get your hopes up or putting forth your greatest strength.
Is Being Vulnerable the Same as Weakness?
Should being vulnerable be something we work so hard to avoid?
Unabashedly, Brown states that vulnerability is neither fear, nor shame, nor uncertainty. Instead, she explains, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.”
“Jesus allowed mankind to put Him on a cross.” J. Alan R., Gospel Poet
Did not God, who is the ultimate example of love, make Himself vulnerable to the human race by living, dying, and rising back to life again? Didn’t He make Himself vulnerable for us? Wasn’t that a good thing?
Is it a Good thing to Feel Vulnerable?
Over the course of life, we learn that being vulnerable is not good, and we build a set of ‘armor’ and a ‘shield’ to protect us from ever feeling that way.
We do not allow ourselves the chance to find out that the assumption is wrong. Dr. Brown believes that being vulnerable can be one of the greatest achievements of our lifetime.
In fact, Dr. Brown contends we must drop that armor and open ourselves up to the richness of the experiences that vulnerability can bring into our lives, giving us purpose and meaning beyond our wildest dreams.
The armor is not protecting us, it is preventing us from living our lives as we were meant to.
It is shutting off our lifeline to a truly full and happy life.
“In truth, vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.” Dr. Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
Our armor, explains Dr. Brown, is cynicism that wards off potential disappointment, is numbing that disarms potential shame, and is circumventing potential grief.
Such armor only keeps us from experiencing the other side of potential…success, joy, and love. It eliminates the promise of good when going all out to avoid the possibility of pain.
It takes courage to ‘take a chance’. It takes bravery to ‘go for broke’. It takes audacity to ‘step into the gap’. It takes boldness to ‘not go on the defensive’.
It takes great faith to trust God will be there to catch you if you fall, or to ‘high-five’ you if you succeed.
It is actually a greater sacrifice to opt to self-defend. You end up missing out on so much of what life has to offer.
What is the Ultimate Benefit of Being Vulnerable?
According to Dr. Brown, those who live life from a place of vulnerability are the only ones who get the chance to find out what it is to be ‘wholehearted.’
Wholehearted means to have and to expand the capacity to engage in the circumstances in our lives with authenticity, courage, and compassion.
The journey to being wholehearted begins with growing our ability to empathize with others, to show gratitude for even the simple things, and to be keenly aware of how the armor we manifest is compromising the quality of the experience at hand.1
“We can learn to show up, let ourselves be seen, and truly be ‘all in.’Dr. Brene’ Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
Our basic problem is that we ‘what if’ ourselves to death…we ‘what if’ ourselves to missing out on life itself.
We literally miss out on living life to the full by walking around for extended periods of time thinking and worrying about things that in all likelihood are not going to happen. We paralyze ourselves.
“I have been through some terrible things in my life, [and] some of them actually happened.” Mark Twain
In the next installment of this review of Dr. Brene’ Brown’s paradigm-shifting work, we will review the ins and outs of recognizing and removing the armor we’ve made to keep us from seeing vulnerability for what it really is…a gift from God.
The Power of Vulnerability
1 “The Power of Vulnerability,” Brene’ Brown, Audio Learning Course, 2020.