I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” and it’s been sitting heavily on my mind.
(ok, when I say “I’ve been reading” I really mean a few months ago I binged during Jury Duty and got through half the book, and ever since then I’m able to sneak in a page or two every couple of weeks. Because, well, kids.)
I’ve been feeling envious lately. It happened every time I allow myself too much social media time. I start comparing the highlight reels online to my own blooper reel and I never, ever, ever measure up.
Lately it’s been about tribes. I keep scrolling past pictures of women- going out to dinner together, celebrating milestones together, rallying for each other. And I get envious because I always find myself adrift. I’m very introverted and I get uncomfortable socially. So I turn down invitations- I love evenings spent at home in my pajamas. I am blessed with many friends and acquaintances but I never seem to make the step past that to a tribe. And despite my social awkwardness and my desire to be at home, I still find myself craving connection. (Because I am human and humans are wired for connection. It’s natural!)
What am I doing wrong?
It turns out, Brene has all the answers.
I was surprised to see that it’s not just me. I thought for the longest time that surely, something is wrong with me. After all, I’m the one who prefers staying at home, and you can’t have both. You can’t foster connections with people while pushing them away.
But maybe it also turns out that I just don’t know HOW to foster connection. And that maybe it’s possible to be both an introvert and have meaningful, connected relationships with more than just my husband.
Vulnerability can be really scary. It can be hard to read into the situation- is it too early to get vulnerable? Am I oversharing? Am I putting up a wall? And much of today’s culture finds vulnerability to be a weakness. Being emotional isn’t a valued part of our culture
I agree with Brene, however. Vulnerability is NOT weakness. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a strength. After all, it takes courage to bare your soul, not knowing what kind of reaction you are going to get. True human connection- love, deep friendship, etc- is all based on vulnerability. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity,” Brene writes.
While I preach and preach about #momreality and embracing your reality and being vulnerable about your parenting struggles online, I’m not so great at letting people in offline.
Brene talks about vulnerability shields. It’s the front we put on to the world, to ourselves, to avoid those messy feelings of discomfort, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. She described several different types of armor. As I was reading this chapter, I smugly thought to myself, “this isn’t me. I know how important vulnerability is!” I’m not a perfectionist, I don’t feel like things are “too good to be true” and I don’t seek out methods to numb my fears. And then I got to the paragraph about Serpentining- spending enormous energy to avoid something- discomfort, a conflict, or other shame. Practicing avoidance. Procrastination. Rationalizing. Or just pretending it’s not there.
Guilty. As. Charged.
What’s her advice? Be present. Pay attention. Move forward.
Ironic that those are the 3 things I struggle with the most in life, right?
I’m only 3/4 of the way through this book and it’s already changed my life.
I’ve shared how my word for this year is “LESS” meaning…. less distractions, less overbooked schedules, less clutter. All this focus on less will open up possibilities for MORE. More vulnerability. More connections. More love and laughter. More embracing the beauty in my every day life.