January 28, 2013

writing and vulnerability

I apologize that I really haven't written in quite awhile. I have done little descriptions under daily photos, but not too much else in the writing department lately. Trying to determine how much to share on this little site is tricky business. Sometimes I want to write openly and candidly about various personal events and then I remember that some of my co-workers read this and it stops me in my tracks. After all, I sit by them day in day out, I really don't want them casting sideways glances at me, with that "wow, you're soooo messed up" look in their eyes.  Well, let's face it, they probably do that already. But, you know what I'm saying. And sometimes I think I really don't need to open up my life for everyone, I should just utilize this space to make people's day a little brighter, because if I can make someone laugh, I literally swell with pride (even more so than the usual water retention).

Does anyone really put their whole self or story out there? When it comes to vulnerability, why do we champion it in others and limit it in ourselves? Do we see vulnerability as a weakness? Or, do we subconsciously operate in self protection mode? Vulnerability is a bit of a dance. If someone shares a very personal story with you, it might prompt you to share something of equivalent intimacy, slowly building trust step by step. But when you're writing on a site like this, you kind of just put your words out there, and don't know how they are interpreted, unless people leave comments (which I always welcome). You hope that your words translate well and that people can connect with what you are saying. When I think of my closest friends, I value the fact that we dig deep, that we share the good and the bad of our respective journeys. I tend to prefer smaller groups to large ones because I enjoy a good conversation that really gets into the meat of a topic. Do you let your friends know your most personal thoughts, or do you find it off putting if someone is too open?

I love this ted talk by Brene Brown on vulnerability.
"When you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak. When you ask people about belonging, they'll tell you their most excruciating experiences of being excluded. When you ask people about connection, the stories they tell are of disconnection."
"With connection comes vulnerability - in order for us to connect, we have to let ourselves be truly seen. Some people have a strong sense of love and belonging within themselves and some struggle to find it: the key is a sense of worthiness. People who have a strong sense of love and belonging, believe they are worthy of love and belonging." A great example Brene Brown gave, in an interview I saw on the topic of vulnerability, is from the film Say Anything. John Cusack's character holds up a ghetto blaster outside the window of a girl he loves, playing the song "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. The audience eats. it. up. People cheer. Women swoon. But when the audience is asked if they would do something so brave, the answer is a resounding "No."
We encourage others to be vulnerable, but we refrain from putting our own feelings on the line.
What makes you feel the most vulnerable? Asking someone out? Being the first person to say I Love You? Initiating Sex? Calling up a new friend? Telling someone you need help? Writing something very personal on a website/facebook or other public forum?

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