Monday, May 20, 2013

Do You Know How To Be Vulnerable?

Recently I was watching the 2013 MTV Awards and while Rebel Wilson's crack about Megan Fox was memorable to say the least it was Emma Watson's Trailblazer Award acceptance speech that stuck with me.
You can watch the full speech above but for those of you who don't have time to fuss about with You Tube links right now I have quoted the important bit:

"Becoming yourself is hard and confusing and it’s a process. I was completely the eager beaver in school. I was the girl in the front of the class who was the first to put her hand up. So not cool to be the person who puts themselves out there and I've often been teased mercilessly but ultimately if you truly put your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can and will happen." 

I don't think many of us would disagree with Ms Watson but allowing yourself to be vulnerable might well be the key to changing your life and letting ‘amazing’ things happen it is much easier said than done.

Dr Brene Brown, author of 'Daring Greatly' defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.

Opening yourself up and putting yourself out there is as terrifying a thing as most of us can think of. Highlighted by the fact that more people site public speaking over death as their greatest fear.

If I am going to be honest and all vulnerable-like I will tell you that for me being vulnerable socially, at work or even here on this blog is a fear that stops me from acting too often. To put myself out there and for it not to work seems like a hurdle too high to jump over.

For example clicking ‘publish’ on this blog is not easy. I mean you might be as crazy as a sock full of frogs and I may not care for you in the least. Hell, this is the internet, you could be a million miles away and I will never meet you but I still want you to think I'm cool, smart, funny, pretty and talented. It’s the fact you may think I’m a boring, self-righteous wanker that prevents me from posting. I was buoyed to read another bloggers similar fears and thoughts on fearing to post. You can read it here

At the end of the day the fact is it is just so much easier to stay safe and not take the risk. It is easier not to post my thoughts so you can't judge. It's easier for you not to go to that PT session and look awkward while you do burpees.

Its way easier to not go to the party with all those people you don't know and stay home in your slippers and eat toast. It also isn’t easy living with the nagging feeling that your dreams will never be but the immediate discomfort seems to win out and we do nothing.
One of my favourite self-help gurus and author of A Road Less Travelled, M Scott Peck writes that there can be no vulnerability without risk. But risk by definition is a scary proposition. Why risk? High risk for high return? Oh yes but the return is not guaranteed. Leaping with only faith that you will land on your feet is what leads to inaction. We hit ‘like’ on those motivational memes and read all the self-help books but we do it from a safe distance where nothing but a dream is required. It is just easier not to.

So how do we go from standing in the wings to centre stage? How do we force ourselves to be vulnerable?

I have been researching this for some weeks and for all the commentary on the subject there are few practical pieces of advice on how to let yourself be vulnerable. Eckhart Tolle makes the link to living in the moment. When you focus neither on your past or your future you are not guided by vulnerability and are connected to who you really are. Interesting, but still not a step-by-step. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no manual, no course or set of rules that tell me how to release the fear and be myself. Like so many things I need to just find my own way but I did learn one extraordinary thing from researching vulnerability that I would like to share because it just might help you out: collectively we criticise and punish vulnerability but it seems that secretly we all admire those of us who dare to be ourselves.

They may not tell you to your face but when you leap without a safety net the crowd is mighty impressed. Emma Watson may have been teased but at the MTV movie awards the crowd were on their feet applauding. So try to push past the fear, take yourself beyond the doubt and continually remind yourself that the applause is there even if you can’t hear it.

I would love to hear your stories of vulnerability!

1 comment:

  1. I used to think being vulnerable was being weak but it isn't. It takes so much guys to be who you are and say how you really feel