Finding Joy in Being Vulnerable

 

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

Two words that have held me, crushed me, and almost destroyed me.

  1. Shame
  2. Fear

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines them as:

Shame – a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety

Fear – an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger

They don’t sound good, do they? The shame of mental illness and of admitting our weaknesses holds us in fear of exposing who we really are.  I don’t want to be seen as weak, unstable, inadequate.  I don’t like to be vulnerable.  Vulnerable…now there’s a scary word! Yet, being vulnerable is what opens us up to a world of possibilities.  Definition of vulnerable:

Vulnerable – capable of being physically or emotionally wounded: open to attack or damage

That really does sound scary, doesn’t it?  Yet, when we can be vulnerable, only then can we move beyond shame and fear to find courage and compassion.

Courage – mental or moral strength to  venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Compassion – sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it

It was after I became vulnerable and started to share my weaknesses, did I find the courage inside to share openly and compassionately with others who are struggling.   Being vulnerable does not mean weak.  It’s breaking down the walls of shame and fear.

Vulnerability is also the route to finding joy.  Look at Jesus.  Only by emptying himself and taking on human form, could he understand the struggles of humanity, and be able to embrace people on their level. In this he found ultimate joy, which he gives to us freely.  When we become vulnerable, we find courage and compassion. Shame and fear then lose their power.  This leads to joy.

JOY – the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: the expression or exhibition of such emotion: a state of happiness or felicity:  a source or cause of delight

What are you going to choose today?  Shame and fear or vulnerability and joy?

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4 Replies to “Finding Joy in Being Vulnerable”

  1. It’s a lot of work to keep putting on the mask, to keep playing the part of perfect. It’s refreshing to fling it aside and let the world see your warts, moles and (gasp) wrinkles. How wonderful to be allowed to just be yourself, flaws and all. How much easier to accept others with their imperfections. There’s no shame or fear there. Just authenticity. Just the truth that we are all sinners in need of a Saviour, of what only He can bring.

    1. That’s so true! It is a lot of work always wearing a mask. Such freedom in showing our authenitc selves, which then opens us up to accepting others as they truly are. Thanks so much for sharing, Yvonne!

  2. “When I discover that I am accepted and loved as a person with my strengths and weaknesses when I discover that I carry within myself the secret of my own uniqueness then I can begin to open up and respect others and respect their secret” Jean Vanier

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