Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Be Vulnerable

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

I'm standing outside of the arena with my hand on the door... but I've been waiting there for a long time.

A few weeks ago I watched Brené Brown's 2012 TedTalk about vulnerability, shame and guilt. And I was challenged and inspired. I've been thinking and talking about starting this blog for quite awhile now, but there was always an excuse to do it later. Sharing my writing is not new as I have posted notes on Facebook before. Yet there is something about starting a blog that feels... bigger. Like the writing needs to be legit, meaningful... worthy. And I wonder, what if no one reads it? And then I fear what if people do? What will they think? What if it's not interesting? What if it's not good enough? What if I'm not good enough?

Brown calls this voice the “gremlin” of shame who blocks us at the arena door. And I realized while watching that video that I am listening to my gremlin. I am hiding, not wanting to take the risk, not wanting to be vulnerable. Not only about starting this blog, it's more symbolic really. I realized that I – who in a lot of ways is very open with the people around me - am actually not being vulnerable in a number of areas of my life.

I went back and re-watched Brown's 2010 TedTalk, where she introduced the idea that vulnerability is “the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love. That vulnerability, while uncomfortable, is necessary for wholehearted living. The truth is I often struggle to maintain a sense of love and belonging, even in some of my seemingly closest friendships/relationships. And I have run from moments of feeling that sense, perhaps revelling instead in a continual search for purpose and meaning. But also finding it more comfortable to be continually searching than to fully embrace and immerse myself into what has been found.

Vulnerability may not be comfortable, but it is necessary for wholehearted living.

I have been especially struggling these last few months – with finding (and accepting) a sense of love and belonging; with quieting the gremlin that whispers “even with your education and life experience, still you are not good enough”; with allowing joy and creativity to flow in and from my being. But I am standing at that arena door. And I desperately want to open it. I want to walk through it; to be covered in dust and sweat and blood. I want to live wholeheartedly. So with this blog I commit to my Be Vulnerable mantra for this year in an attempt to learn how:
“to let [myself] be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen;
to love with [my] whole heart, even though there's no guarantee...;
to practice gratitude & joy in those moments of terror...;
and... to believe that [I am] enough.”
(Brown, 2010 TedTalk)
With this blog I stop waiting at the door and take my first step into the arena...

What is your first step?


Matthew VanderMeer said...

Direction is something that we all search for and I envy those who find it. I have also found myself searching youtube for inspiration and direction from various Ted talks. They are inspiring because they have found the direction that we look for.

I hope that you will find direction and purpose from your writing I will be following along with you.

Anonymous said...

Beth Ann,
I too will follow along and walk with you in the vulnerable places. You are right, this is a very hard thing to do. What a great challenge. I will go back and watch that Ted Talk some time.

Jason Crigger said...

i love these ted talks. i watch them all the time. i agree with Matthew, as direction is something we all look for; especially when there is a destination in mind, as long as everybody understands that there are several directions to take to in order to get there.