Without intense vulnerability, we cannot experience intense joy.
For most of our lives, many of us have been experiencing vulnerability but never had the permission to feel it, name it, or know how to sit in it. We avoid it, dismiss it, or ignore it. No one tells us as children that it is necessary and a fantastic part of growth in relationships, in work, in self-development. If we never felt vulnerable, we wouldn’t be putting ourselves out there. We wouldn’t be taking risks. We wouldn’t be doing things that are necessary for our growth. You may be thinking, “Alright, Robin, so if it’s so good, then why is it so uncomfortable?”
It’s important to note that even when we know that vulnerability is necessary and needed and a good thing, there is nothing comfortable about it. Because our brains are wired for protection, it may see vulnerability as a threat to our safety. Being vulnerable requires you to leave comfortability at the door, strip down to complete nakedness, walk in through the door and greet everyone as if you were saying, "Here I am!" It requires you to be seen, to be known and to be authentic. If you’ve had previous experiences where being vulnerable has led to being physically or emotionally hurt, then experiencing vulnerability can be even more intense, especially if you have the belief that vulnerability is not safe.
Vulnerability feels like your insides are exposed, like someone could take peroxide and pour it on your wounds at any moment. Trusting someone in vulnerability allows you to share with them what is going on while they help you get a bandaid or help you tend to your wound instead of ridiculing you for having it. It takes experiences like this over and over to prove that you can show the not-so-pretty parts and be okay.
To be vulnerable is to be seen.
We cannot experience the beauty of true acceptance or joy without intense vulnerability. If we aren’t being authentic, we are not giving ourselves the opportunity to be accepted for who we really are. If we are being fake to someone else or concealing parts of us, and they like us, it does nothing for us. It gives us no confidence or joy, and if it does, it is completely superficial.
It is true that not everyone will accept your vulnerability. You get to decide who you trust enough to show that to. You get to decide who has shown you that you can trust them with pieces of you that are hard to share or when you express your feelings.
What may be unhelpful..
To learn more about vulnerability, watch Brene Brown’s famous TED Talk The Power of Vulnerability and remember, you don’t have to do this alone! Sometimes, allowing ourselves the opportunities to feel tremendous joy--to stop protecting ourselves from feeling it--is the most vulnerable thing we can do. It’s when we have the most to lose and the most important time to show up.
LSCSW and Millennial Therapist
We hear all the time that childhood obesity is an epidemic and we’re flooded with images of children in larger bodies looking ashamed of who they are. I’m not ignorant to the health consequences that some children face for various health conditions and an imbalance of fuel (food) and activity. What I’m deeply concerned with is how Kurbo by WW (Weight Watchers) has developed an app for CHILDREN (geared towards 8 years old and up) to learn how to lose weight.
The app has a red, yellow, and green light system to teach kids about what foods are bad, not great, and okay. So what if a child chooses a red food? Then what? They begin to feel ashamed, that not only did they choose a “bad food” but now they are “bad for choosing it.”
Even when putting in a weight, age, and height in the app that puts you below the growth curve, you still have the option to choose the “lose weight” goal on the app. Many of the foods they have in each “light” section are ridiculous. Almonds and applesauce are yellow light foods for example. Those are delicious, nutritious, and easy snacks for kids!
“Asking kids to closely monitor and self-report everything they eat through an app with no in-person monitoring by a medical professional presents grave risks, including eating disorders, disordered eating and a potential lifetime of weight cycling and poor body image.”
Children should be encouraged to view “health” as a beautiful combination of mental, physical, and emotional health. That includes eating a variety of foods, even dessert!
How you can help:
Sign the petition to have the app removed.
If you want more information on why those of us in this field are concerned:
New York Times
If you’re a parent looking for resources:
Rachel Simmons' Book
Book to Eat Book
Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girl
“Perhaps that’s another reason true intimacy is so frightening. It’s the one thing we all want, and must give up all control to get.”
There is one thing, one desire, which I have found most dominant while on the front lines of learning about others’ hearts…while on the front line of learning about my own heart. The desire to be fully known and yet fully loved drips from the soul like a sponge at full capacity. It’s as if this longing has been hardwired into the strands of our DNA. And while I recognize this very basic and yet very monstrous human need, I also recognize the reality of an often unmet and seemingly illusionary conquest to have the need be fulfilled. Why is this? Why does it seem that true intimacy is a fleeting notion only found in our wildest imaginations?
Intimacy, the masterpiece that is painted one vulnerable and courageous brushstroke at a time.
Intimacy requires vulnerability of heart, soul, spirit, and mind. To be fully known, we have to allow ourselves to be fully seen. To set aside our masks of protection and allow the beautiful, messy reality of whom we are to be held by another. There is a Japanese form of art called Kintsugi, in which the artist purposely breaks a piece of pottery to put it back together with gold lacquer. The artist believes the breakage and repair hold beauty and should not be disguised. Knowing the ‘wish we could erase mistakes,’ and ‘best self-moments’ are regarded as adding equal amounts of wonder and awe to the story of you gives vulnerability wings of flight.
Donald Miller, author and speaker, spotlights a hidden landmine to attaining true intimacy. Giving up control. That is why vulnerability must be paired with courageousness. Being vulnerable and trusting another with one’s deepest self requires mass amounts of courage because we have no control over how someone will receive our attempts at connection and intimacy.
The nature of courage embodies endurance to push on in the face of adversity. Don’t let broken attempts at intimacy steer you from a relational blessing that has the potential to be well worth the hurt and heartache it took to get there. Because just like the art of Kintsugi, we are more beautiful because of our brokenness AND that, my friend, deserves to be celebrated and shared.