I typed the poem; read it over and over again changed a few things and pressed the share button. Immediately, after pressing shared my heart sank. Why did I just do that? Why did I share something so deep on social media? What if I made a grammatical mistake? What if they don’t get it? I automatically wanted to undo what I’ve just done but knew that regardless of how uncomfortable this feeling felt, I had a story to tell and it deserved to be heard.
After a few minutes, the likes on my Instagram page came tumbling like water, few people commented, others re-shared; and although the discomfort was still present, it felt good to know that my art was appreciated.
Three years later, tonnes of stories, poem and vulnerable moments in my life shared on social media, and the discomfort of being vulnerable is still present. Every time that I get ready to share a poem on my page there is always a moment of hesitation, a breath held before a part of me goes out to the world. Vulnerability is beautiful, people love to hear other people’s truth but often avoid theirs. Why?
Whenever I am trying to apply a concept to my life I start off by defining what that concept means to me. In her book Daring Greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead; American scholar Brene Brown describe vulnerability as being the ability to be a wholehearted person. That is to understand and to believe that no matter what you are worthy of love. Thus, to be vulnerable is to root your worth in something deeper than other people’s opinion.
Believe it or not even for me this was a hard concept to digest, you can say things like “our society is flawed because it is a system based on public opinion” but to truly apply this to your life is a different story. Our whole system, from the first conscious interactions that we have with our parents, to pre-school, is based on whether or not people approve or disapprove of our behaviors. We are wired to believe that love equates our love one's approval, thus we tend to equate self-worth with people’s opinion.
True love, however, starts with the self. I couldn’t agree more with Brene Brown when she writes “vulnerability looks like truth, and feels like courage”. Speaking your truth at all times, that is being honest with yourself and your belief no matter what, and knowing that regardless of the outcome you are infinitely worthy of love is a courageous act because it defies society’s norms.
To be vulnerable is to be sensitive to one’s own feelings and to recognize for instance when fear is disguised as anger or to accept and welcome the moments of joy and happiness in our lives without trying to tarnish them with the fear of what could destroy them. Vulnerability is love, it is to invest in someone we believe is worth investing and loving him or her without knowing the outcome of our investment. Vulnerability is trusting ourselves and our heart.
In conclusion, although we rather not expose ourselves whole heartily because we were never wired to do so, it is in my opinion the best and only way to live our lives. Yes it may feel uncomfortable, and yes it may not always follow the outcome that you’ve expected, but to speak your truth is always worth the trouble, because your truth deserves to be heard.