Hey guys! As always, I’m back! A couple of days ago, while getting ready for work, I decided to listen to a podcast. Man, it was right on time! Dr. Brenè Brown is one of my favorite authors, and her research on shame, courage, and other emotions has truly been inspiring to say the least. I’ve learned so much since reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” in 2015. Here’s what I learned from Dr. Brenè Brown’s conversation with Oprah about vulnerability and who gets to experience yours.
📍 ✈️ 🚘
The episode I listened to yesterday was one from “Oprah’s Super Soul.” If you’ve never tuned in, I recommend you listen to the episode “Brenè Brown: The Power of Vulnerability.” Everything about that episode was powerful, but the question that I want to focus on is, “Who gets to experience your vulnerability?” You’ll be surprised at the answer.
•V U L N E R A B I L I T Y•
Merriam-Webster defines vulnerability as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded.” (Merriam-Webster, 2022) Before you say anything, let me paint my picture. 😂
That definition is daunting, and when I first decided to write about this, I asked myself, “How can I bring this home and make it clear for us?” Society has shown us time and time again that being vulnerable is a liability. Being wounded, physically or emotionally, is terrible for business, and expressing emotions will “slow you down.” After listening to that episode, I felt the complete opposite. I felt refreshed and empowered. If you’ve been with me in the garden for a little while, you’ll remember one of the first things I stated is that we have to accept ourselves for who we are. That’s what Brenè was talking about—the best person to experience your vulnerability is—you.
I am currently reading “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”(another one of Brenè’s books), and in chapter four: “People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In.” she interviews Viola Davis who shares her story on shame and what it’s like to feel, “like a square peg in a round hole.” (Brown, 2017) Viola shared how she learned to navigate her “wilderness” and show up for herself.
“Give yourself permission to feel”
Emotions are not bad or wrong. Anger is okay. Disappointment is valid. Sadness is real. Again, society teaches us to push until we have nothing left, and that’s unhealthy. Covid taught me many things, and one of those things was “leave nothing unsaid.” The only person who has to be entirely sure at the end of the day is you. I say—feel it all. Visit with those feelings and hear them out. You’d be surprised at what you can learn about yourself if you lean in. I do not rush my process. Sometimes we have big emotions, and we need a little time to process them. I give myself that. I won’t stop living my life, but I am honest with myself—If I’m not okay, I’m not okay. But I will be. I have to give myself permission.
1. “This is Who I Am.”
“Who Am I?” This question has plagued me since the first grade. Mrs. Crystal, the best first-grade teacher ever, collected pages from us all year about our favorite everything, and the most challenging part for me—even at that age was “Who Am I?” I know who I am, physically—Floyd & Barbara’s baby girl, and on paper—an adult 😂. But WHO I am, was always hard for me because I am ever-changing. Now at the young age of 30, I can answer with my head held high, I am Love. I am hopeful, and I have crazy faith that God can change anything and anyone because he did that for me. He took that anger that used to fuel me. That bitterness that used to tug me along spreading fires everywhere I went, and he changed me. He showed me that love would get me further than anger. Love would allow me to plant and reap benefits beyond my wildest dreams. Love can champion it all. So, that’s who I am.—Love.
2. “This is Where I’m From.”
I am from Arkansas, specifically Fordyce. I graduated in 2010, and I belong to “PAC-10.” I grew up uptown, but I spent much of my time in Greenville with my Granny. Location is the first answer you give when considering where you’re from. For vulnerability, I am talking much bigger. I’m talking about your experiences. Where are you coming from? Shame? Guilt? Anger? Sadness? The thing about moving is that it allows you to start fresh and create a new home. When I left those painful places, I learned I am actually from peace, through forgiveness, and up the street from reflection. I enjoy my new location much better. Remember, the past serves a purpose, and you should not be ashamed. We are all doing our best, and surviving is half the battle. You are here today because of those experiences of shame, guilt, anger, etc. Honor the journey—that’s where vulnerability begins.
3. “This is My Mess.”
I am not perfect. I pray for temperance daily and ease in my overthinking. I pray for help navigating my gentle heart. Nowadays, all I want is for everyone to be okay. Whatever okay looks like for them, that’s what I want. I heard that the older you get, the softer you get, and I couldn’t agree more. The more you journey through life—the more you see different perspectives, outcomes, and people. You quickly learn to accept a couple of messes. When you lean into your vulnerability, your ego takes a backseat. There is so much power in clarity—“I messed up, and I’m sorry. Would it be okay if we talked about this?”—goes a long way. It’s not for the other person so much as it is for you. Those phrases opened doors for me significantly when rewriting response patterns. I felt so much better when I owned my mess.
4. “This is What it Means to Belong to Me.”
Multifaceted—that is one of my favorite words. Earlier I told you that I cringe anytime I have to answer the “Who Am I” questions, and that’s true. I still go blank, but multifaceted is what I turn to. I’m layered. For starters, I am loving, serious, unserious, loyal, and gentle. But I have been—angry, heartbroken, bitter, embarrassed, and confused. I’ve been through a plethora of things in my life, and now I am just thankful to be present and able to be the woman that I choose to be for me. This is what it means to belong to me. One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself was acceptance. I “turned the lights on” and accepted me for me. I choose to continue to work on myself because I want to be better. I am experiencing life differently, and I would like that to continue. That’s what it means to belong to you. Choose to dream, evolve, be present, and love yourself every step of the way.
At the end of her interview, Viola Davis shared some advice she had for braving her wilderness, and I want to share them with you.
1. “I’m doing the best I can.”
2. “I will allow myself to be seen.”
3. “Go further. Don’t be afraid. Put it all out there. Don’t leave anything on the floor.”
I want you to show up for yourself. Vulnerable and full of love! 💜
One Comment Add yours
ToriB this awesome and full of great observations /insights into one’s vulnerability, I see the growth because growing is Always evolving into a better you if you choose to❤️
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