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Vulnerability and Being Human

by Ashley on November 20, 2012 · 4 comments

I never thought much about vulnerability until I watched Brene Brown’s first TED talk a few years ago.

But even though I didn’t think about vulnerability often, I knew all too well what it felt like.

It was when I stood up in front of my entire elementary school and gave a speech about Jackie O, wondering was the other students were thinking. It was when I first told a boy I loved him. It was when I told my boss that something needed to change because I was miserable. It was when I sat next to my father, holding his hand, as he was dying.

I had experienced vulnerability and its sharp claws dig into my tender skin when I felt exposed, open, and raw, when I felt like the world could see all of my thoughts and my insecurities and my weaknesses. I just didn’t know how this was tied to my confidence levels, my feelings of self-worth, and my need for perfection.

Now that have read Brene Brown’s books and studied her research, I’ve realized how vulnerability plays out into our lives and how it is connected with shame and self-worth, and I am fascinated. I spend my days review past experiences and mapping out how what this person said, or how that event made me feel, might be tied to my self-worth.

It’s a fascinating idea, isn’t it?

How all of these minuscule moments, tiny thoughts, and fleeting memories… how they all make up who we are.

My constant need to make all A’s, be a member of every honor society, be the prima ballerina, and everyone’s best friend.

My feelings of insecurity when I’m in a new group of girls and desperately want them to like me.

Responding with anger and resentment when what I’m actually feeling is scared and unprotected.

It’s as if this whole new world has been opened up to me and I feel like I’m untangling the web of my life. Literally

I can’t wait to see where it takes me.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kahea November 21, 2012 at 12:52 am

Okay, I really, REALLY am going to read this book! I feel like I could have written the entire last half of your post myself…I feel the same way so much of the time! I like the idea of “untangling the web of my life” too…it’s such a great way of looking at moving through some of the more difficult aspects of vulnerability.


Rachel November 21, 2012 at 6:36 am

Brene Brown has made me think and think and think over the last few years. And made me realise vulnerability is a good thing. It’s OK to feel it, I don’t have to wrap myself up in a hard shell to face the world anymore. Sometimes it’s OK to say “I’m scared”.

Hello, btw :) I’m Rachel, I’m from England and I found you via Yes and Yes :)


Ashley November 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

So nice to meet you, Rachel! :)


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