Abstract

How vulnerability undergirds our expression, fulfillment, and experience of life

Table of Contents

Research: if you cannot measure it, it does not exist. Connection is what gives us meaning; it’s why were here.

When ask people about love, they’ll tell you about heartbreak. When ask people about belonging, they’ll tell about exclusion. About connection, they’ll talk about disconnection.

Shame is the fear of disconnection: that I won’t be worthy of connection. What undergirds this is excrutiating vulnerability. In order for connection to happen, we have to be seen.

A sense of worthiness (opposite of shame) stems from a strong sense of love and belonging. The people who had a strong sense of love and belonging believed that they were worthy of it. That is what seperated them from those that did not feel that way. They believed they are worthy.

What keeps us from connection is that we’re not worthy of it. What they had in common is a sense of courage. Courage’s original meaning (cour is heart) is to tell the story of your life with your whole heart. They had the courage to be imperfect themselves and others. They had compassion because of authenticity. They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were which is necessary for connection. They fully embraced vulnerability. They believe that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about it being comfortable but necessary. They talked about the willingness to say I love you first. Do something where there are no guarentees. Willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.

Vulnerability is the core of fear, shame, and our struggle for worthiness but it is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, of belonging, of love. It’s neither good nor bad but it is what it is.

We live in a vulnerable world. We numb vulnerability to try to deal with it. You cannot selectively numb hard feelings (vulnerability, fear, etc) without numbing the other emotions such as joy, gratitude, happiness, etc. We try to make everything uncertain, certain. The more afraid we are the more certain we become.

Kids (and by extension people in general) are wired for struggle and imperfect but worthy of love and belonging. We pretend what we do doesn’t have an effect on people. Be vulnerable enough to say sorry.

Let ourselves be seen in a vulnerable way. To love with our own hearts even though there’s no guarentee. Practice gratitude and joy in vulnerable moments. Believe that we’re enough (we stop screaming and start listening and we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and to ourselves).