VULNERABILITY – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Posted on January 12, 2021
Recently I reacquainted myself with my love of reading! I may have gone a liiiiitttttle overboard on Amazon in the pursuit to expand my mind…haha! But I’m super excited about some of the authors that have found their way onto my nightstand!
One of my favs is the popular author Brene Brown. We’ve all seen her name or heard her voice, not to mention those amazing recitable quotes that can be found floating around all over social media. To me she is not only an incredibly intelligent and compassionate human…she is also the QUEEN of VULNERABILITY! She has studied human conditioning and behaviour in great depth for many years, so it’s not surprising that she has a lot of expertise and knowledge on this topic. What she shares with her readers/listeners/viewers speaks volumes! Especially in a world that is so hell-bent on perfectionism and the “hustle!” Honestly, it’s no wonder we feel so insecure and vulnerable sharing our true selves with the world!
I could go on and on about how fabulous Brene is, but let’s get down to the reason for this post. Brown describes vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. “It’s that unstable feeling we get when we step outside our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.” So there is no surprise, that as a Boudoir Photographer, I witness this type of situation with my clients, daily.
In a nutshell, vulnerability is about showing up and being seen, and being honest with yourself. That can be tough to do, especially when we’re terrified about what people might say or think about us when we DO step up and let all the cats outta the bag! The thing is, being vulnerable looks different for everyone but inherently, we all have the same fear that surround us when we talk about it or even worse, when we show it.
Have you ever stopped in the middle of your social media feed to read a post where someone is sharing something raw and intimate about a personal experience and you’ve gone WOW… they are so courageous, daring, and brave to put themselves out there. To be so “emotionally exposed” for all the world to see. I know when I see posts like that, I give a little head nod, as if I’m giving the writer an invisible affirmation to say “YAAAS!! I see you friend! I hear you and I can RELATE to you!
So why is it, that when we look at this in ourselves, more often than not, we see it as a sign of weakness? A literal flaw in our being? Why do we find it so hard to step out of our own comfort zones and share? Sometimes, it’s our way of putting on our armour because we’re scared of judgment and how that might hurt us. We are afraid of being ridiculed or shamed! The fear that is fuelled by what we think “others” will think about us is REAL. It creeps into our brains in the form of chattering negative self-talk, that continues to tell us “you’re not good enough”. So with all that going on inside our heads, why wouldn’t we think that. But now, more than ever…we actually do want to hear these stories!! We NEED to hear these stories!
It’s probably safe to say, that at some point in our lives, we have all had some kind of experience with the thoughts or feelings I’m talking about. This is often why we attached our self-worth to things we have produced or achieved in life. A title or an accolade or something else we have earned. For some, the size of our financial wealth is how we view our success and self-worth. Whatever it may be, it’s much easier to attach these things to ourselves, than it is to actually open up and “dive deep” into our fears and insecurities and actually share those with others.
The thing is, as humans, we actually connect better with others who show us their vulnerabilities and imperfections Why? Because it’s relatable! When we see others who have had the same or are experiencing similar struggles as we have, we know that we are not alone in our feelings and that’s HUGE!
I was recently reading a Forbes interview where the interviewer, Dan Schawbel asked Brown, ” Every superhero has their weakness, (Superman has Kryptonite, for example), so if everyone was perfect, would we care as much about them?” I thought that was an interesting question (I also really like the superhero metaphor!…well done Dan!). The answer she gave was extensive but easily broken down to say “Most of us don’t trust perfection and that’s a good instinct” It’s not achievable and most certainly holds us back from actually showing up and being seen.
(Hmmmm…..I’m pretty sure I have touched on that in a blog post before! 😉 ).
So what I want….is to share with you, what it was like for one of my clients to be vulnerable and share about her journey. Miss J came to do her session after experiencing trauma from a past relationship and also to document her healing journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle. These are her words from personal posts she made on her Facebook page when she shared her photos from her boudoir experience. She’s shared numerous different posts and I’m so proud of her for doing it. I know how hard this was for her to open up and share publicly. I am so full of gratitude and happiness, each and every time a client shares their story and “heart” work with me but what TRULY fills up my cup, is when they completely step out of their comfort zone (again) and share their vulnerabilities, experiences, growth, and self-acceptance, with others in the world too!
IN HER WORDS:
“I’ve been overweight, uncomfortable in my own skin, embarrassed to wear shorts because my legs were “fat”, but one day it just finally came to a head where it clicked. I am the ONLY one who can make the CHANGES to live how I wanna live! “
“When you’re able to show yourself some self-love, the things you can attract, create, manifest, and believe…. start falling into place.”
“”I finally went to my appointment to select my favourite photos. What a task it was to narrow it down! I love every one of them! They caught me in a light I’d never seen before when I looked at other pictures of myself or in the mirror! They not only capture the beauty on the outside but they captured the beautiful soul I AM on the inside as well!”
“I KNOW my worth, I KNOW who I am, I KNOW I’m an amazing mother, friend, leader, coach, and most of all I finally KNOW what it’s like to LOVE MYSELF!
“I didn’t get to this point on my own. There have been lots of people along the way guiding me, coaching me, keeping me accountable but at the end of the day, I am the one who put in the hard work and as you can see in my photos the results are AMAZING!”
I really am a no bullshit kinda person now! I KNOW what I’m willing to put up with, let slide and what I will stand my ground on and having SELF RESPECT and LOVE for myself is #1 alongside being an AMAZING and inspiring mom to my boys!
If there is one thing I have also learned in my 41 years here on earth it is this:
“Work hard, be consistent, and positive. Put in your time, don’t give a FUCK what anyone else thinks of you and MOST of all love yourself ”
“I have been working on myself, learning how to heal from the inside, learning how to let go of guilt and hate, grudges and negativity as they serve me no purpose! When you can take hold of these things you can live your best life! Haters are going to hate, but I’m going to continue to be positive!”
“This is my all-time favourite photo from my photoshoot with the amazing Aroha ! She captures the countless hours I’ve spent working on ME and not giving up when it got hard! I’m not a quitter and I am just going to keep getting #stronger .
I feel like the most amazing person on the planet and I will keep going, keep striving for bigger things, keeping my soul full of love and laughter, staying strong and motivated to live my best life!”
Thank you for sharing Miss J. We see you!!
“Owning our story and and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing that we will ever do”Brene Brown