Vulnerability and Authenticity

I was thinking about fear and vulnerability and the façade that we feel we have to maintain when we are dealing with other people, whether that’s in a professional capacity or in our personal lives. I know personally how my fears and ‘fear based stories’ have manifested to stop me from speaking my truth, from opening my heart fully and from standing in my power. Like many of us, there is a default safety position which involves vetting, analysing and considering exactly what to say, when and how to say it, what does my audience want to hear and how might it be perceived. And WOW what a lot of things to take into account and a huge amount of pressure to communicate ‘perfectly’!

I considered the qualities of the some of the people I have listened to or seen over the years, speakers like Eckhart Tolle, Louise Hay and of course the voice of vulnerability herself Brene Brown. What struck me deeply was how openly, unequivocally and completely themselves they were when they presented. Not only do they share their teachings in an heartening, funny and incredibly articulate way, but they aren’t afraid to talk about the real hard uncomfortable stuff, things like our favourite word 'shame', or any of the other emotions that we want to hide from, ignore and certainly have no intention of owning. I always walk away feeling so inspired when I listen to such people speak, not only because they are super talented in so many ways, but because when they share those honest awkward stories, they expose themselves to us and in doing so give us permission to honour that within us that we want to deny. We feel an unexpected sense of solidarity, connection and of being part of the tribe. When we hear truth it frees us from the limitations we put on ourselves to fulfil this impossible task of basically always having our shit together!

Most of us don’t want to talk about the hard stuff because we see it as daunting, not only because of the emotional charge it may carry for us personally but our fear of judgement from self and others keeps us in our prison. We have been taught that emotional nakedness is weakness, when in fact it is the polar opposite. When we hear someone speaking openly about their pain and fear and vulnerability, we as the listener experience all the good emotions - empathy, compassion, gratitude. We relate and connect with each other in the presence of what we now realise is COURAGE, and this ignites the same spark of courage within us. When we speak our truth we indirectly give permission to others to embrace those qualities within themselves with open hearts, confidence and faith.

So my lesson today is to observe how much I show up and see if I bring all of myself to the situations I face; or do I hold a bit back, consider my audience and hide aspects of myself. Knowing that by being ‘dangerously’ naked I might inspire courage and acceptance in someone else gives me a new perspective on playing it safe and a new reason to be daring. I invite you to be daring too!