I was listening to a TED talk (a new morning habit of mine) and this one was particularly unsettling. Maybe it was because I often like listening to TED talks, but I don’t usually fully identify with them. But this one really slapped me across the face haha.
So let me sum it up for you if your strapped for time. Basically this women did a study on what separates people who feel loved and valued from people who don’t. After a 6 (dang) year study she boiled it down to the fact that people have to feel like they deserve love and that there life has value. This belief is stemmed from people having the courage to be vulnerable.
At first when I was hearing this I was like, I am so vulnerable I am an open book! Amazing! But then she started listing examples of courageous vulnerability,
Willingness to be the first person to say I love you
Willingness to do something when there are no guarantees
Willingness to be patient, even in the face of disasters
Willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.
And those are just the examples that she gave of people having to be courageous in there vulnerability.
There were SO MANY MORE examples of people just explaining day to day when they feel the most vulnerable.
I feel most vulnerable when I am in situations where I cannot predict the outcome. As silly as it sounds when I worked at Disney when I was a lifeguard those first couple weeks were some of my most vulnerable. I was so concerned the whole time that I was making a fool of myself, or that I was sitting at the wrong table in the break room, or if I was at the correct entrance for Cast Members. I was so afraid all of the time that I was doing something wrong that I never embraced where I was.
No joke, I was so scared of just being vulnerable and saying “I’m new and I have no idea what I am doing, can you help me”, that I missed out on so many opportunities. I remember like 2 months into my program someone that I worked with described me as “shy, and quiet”, that’s when I knew I had done something wrong haha!
The other thing she touched on is that people (particularly Americans) numb vulnerability. When people start to feel vulnerable they reach for tequila or a cupcake or a credit card. This is further proven by our obesity rate, our level of debt and the fact that we are the most medicated generation of adults. Do we use all of these vices just because we are all so scared of being vulnerable with other people?
Or some type of combination of that.
It is just so interesting that the people that reported being particularly vulnerable, were also more optimistic and felt as if they were the most authentic version of themselves. Being able to be your most authentic self has been consistently linked to happiness.
I leave you with this quote from the talk:
“This is what I have found: To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.”