31 Days to Shine: Me Too! Me Too! On Being Vulnerable
There are some things I just don’t like to talk about.
Hurts from the past. Certain problems or dilemmas I struggle with. Things that are personal, private. From deep within my tender underbelly. A place I shelter carefully — from fear, from shame, from self-doubt. These are places I’ve been hurt before. I’ve been judged before.
My tendency is to keep them bound up tight, out of the air, away from light. Protective. Suffocated, but safe.
Today, though, the oddest thing happened. I was singing happily along with Debbie Gibson in the produce section of Trader Joe’s, and I caught the eye of a woman smiling at me, her head tilted to one side.
She looks just like that chic gal I met at that event last week. I think to myself. Such cute hair ….
Oh wait, it IS the same woman I met at a speaking engagement last week. We connected over a mutual friend and here we are, filling up our baskets with pumpkin-flavored stuff. (Side note: Trader Joe’s doesn’t call it Autumn. They call it Pumpkin Season. For a reason.)
We started chatting about this that and the other — suddenly I find myself telling her about something I hardly ever talk about. Rarely with my closest friends, never with strangers.
Right there in Trader Joe’s. Next to the gourds and bags of kale — my underbelly, exposed and vulnerable.
She could have judged. She could have criticized. She could have cocked an eyebrow and told me what to do about it.
She didn’t. She commiserated. She related. She empathized.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
She gets it.
I heedlessly took a risk and shared something deeply personal with a stranger. And now we’re having lunch and we’re going to talk more.
Exposing that frightened underbelly to the light every once in a while is a good thing. We all need fresh air to breathe, to grow. Things change in the dark, they grow larger and more frightening. Out in the light, what’s brutish is softened, not nearly so scary.
Letting the inside out, vulnerability, that’s what it means to shine.
Go then, and be shiny today! Don’t just do it for yourself, do it for her. She needs your glow.
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