Vulnerable…me…hell no!

For those of you that don’t know what TED talks is I will roughly explain. They are 20-30 minute video lectures focused on science, the body, life, etc. The above TED talks is Brene Brown’s discussion on vulnerability.  I fell in love with her when I saw this on Facebook a while ago and came upon it again last night while watching TED talks on Netflix streaming.  Oh ya they are not only on the internet!.  I am totally hooked.  By the way, I am nowhere near a science buff.  Historically science overwhelms me as it’s complex but lately I have picked up my passion for knowledge.  These videos give you the facts in layman’s terms with humor.  I have found my nirvana for good info without zoning out!  Back to Brene Brown, states on the video that she is a social worker and researcher.  She is direct, shoots straight from the hip and tends towards being fairly guarded.  When I first saw this I thought “I had found my soul sister.”   She WAS me years ago. The title of this blog would have been my response to the idea of being vulnerable about 8 years ago. I distinctly remember being with a friend and former colleague at a Harvard Medical School conference on Women’s issues (most of you have probably never been to these so I will say that they are generally intensely intellectual and HUGE.)  At one point during the conference they showed a video on violence against women and it struck a cord with me.  The lights went up and I was crying.  I told my friend that I needed to leave immediately.  She didn’t know me well at the time so didn’t get it.  I explained “I am crying and there are like 800 people here, I need to get the hell out of here immediately.”  She started laughing because she got it on a deep level.  Vulnerability was not our thing. We became long term friends.

To be vulnerable is to be weak was my motto.  You couldn’t let anyone see you weak.  I was a person who chose a career to be there for others
but had no interest in being there for myself.  I had no needs that needed to be tended to. I was strong. I always related to the image of the working woman during the 50’s. You know the one I’m talking about?

Yup Rosie the Riveter

I had a t shirt with her on it at one point.  Don’t mess with little ole me. Oh and don’t bother to offer help I got it even thought I’ll be pissed
off that your not helping.  Sound familiar anyone?? Brown’s lecture discusses something that really made me think about my post
from yesterday And Just like that….change gone came our way where I spoke about the use of substances or behaviors such as shopping, sex, etc to cover up emotions.  Brown discusses something that didn’t occur to me when I was posting is that we can’t medicate away JUST the unpleasant feelings as we numb feelings we end up numbing ALL our feelings.  Which means that when we reach for food or alcohol or shopping to dumb anxiety, irritability, discontent, we end up numbing joy too…hmmmm interesting point Brene.  Very true.  When we are in a numb state, we are not feeling much. We are not vulnerable, we are not angry but we are not also present or
authentically happy.

Vulnerability is a funny thing.  you have to be comfortable with being human in order to be real.  I have had many people cry in front of me over the years and apologize for it.  My response to this has become “I know, it’s tough being human.”  This usually gets them laughing.  When we are acting as though we are too strong to feel, we are expecting that we should act like a robot.  Robots don’t have feelings, humans do. I hear a lot of “people take kindness for weakness.”   Well ya if you surround yourself around people who are ready to pounce on you and hurt you whether with their words or actions.  This can be people who will do it to your face or, more dangerous, behind your back.  People may have hurt you in the past but now YOU are choosing to put yourself in those circumstances so of course you are going to need those survival instincts to get through.  I have learned over the years that I love being human.  I cry easily, plentifully and….in public.  The first time I cried on my yoga mat was overwhelming but now I go to my mat at home or at a studio for relief. I am grateful if it has released some emotion that was trapped inside because now I don’t have to carry that around with me.  No wonder my shoulders were hiked up around my ears when I started this journey!! I now realize that my strength comes when I am vulnerable not when I cat like a woman
of steel.

Being vulnerable means you are human and being human is a gift.  Tears are nature’s natural anti-inflammatory so think about that when you are stuffing them.  Crying may help release some pain physically as well as emotionally. My body moves more freely after a good cry fest. The key to being vulnerable is noticing the people and places that make you keep that wall up and getting the hell away from them.  They are reinforcing your numbing strategies and are toxic to your overall well being.  So choose wisely as
those choices may help you heal:)



  1. […] could relate to this. The line also made me think how yesterday’s post about vulnerability  Vulnerable Me? Hell No! needed a follow up.  This occurred to me during a light moment at the beach, as it’s easy to […]

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