💙 Heart-First: Vulnerable & Proud 💙
VULNERABLE & PROUD
"The wound is the place where the Light enters you." ~ Rumi
I have perhaps a radical idea! Something that's changed my life for the better in all aspects! This idea put into practice is that of being vulnerable and proud of it. Let me explain. I'm no social scientist or psychologist. I'm a student of life and of people. What I've discovered for both myself and others is I have a down right knack for making myself sound far more put together, important, successful, intelligent, the list goes on than I am in reality. Equally I've also discovered that I have a surgical skill in dismantling my self-esteem, confidence and successes better than anyone I've ever known. Why is that? Why are these little gremlins rolling around our heads telling us to embellish the truth? Why is it so easy to be unhappy with both our wins and our losses?
This isn't just a 21st century phenomena. The Protestant reformer Martin Luther was known for confessing that he enjoyed sleep to his Priest. Saying "Father I've sinned! Last night I slept for 4 hours and I enjoyed it". The priest replied (all paraphrased of course) Martin, buddy calm down it's ok to enjoy sleep! Then on the opposite spectrum when the prolific writer Oscar Wilde came to the United States and asked if he had anything to declare he said "only my genius". Now both Wilde and Luther were well educated and famous in their own lifetime for the work that they did. Why was it that they were so distorted in their own eyes? Sure this might be a heavy question to try and unravel in a less than empirical manner. Yet, my hypothesis is that we as humans struggle with vulnerability. It's as if we just can't accept our limitations and be comfortable with our weaknesses. Now how does this relate to being vulnerable and proud of it, or the radical promise made earlier? Well you see when we're being vulnerable we're being human and be that a business relationship or a colleague or even our closest friends - when we're comfortable with our own warts we can stop pretending and just connect with the people or the task in front of us.
How does this relate to me? Or rather where's your warts Jesse?! You see I struggled a lot as a student. I'm dyslexic and when I started school my parents were in the throes of a divorce. I was also the middle child so I was very much overlooked. This is where I started to develop anxieties about asking for help. Teachers would force me to read out loud - and I had a particularly cruel 1st grade teacher that would make fun of me and other students if they stammered. It wasn't until a few years later when I was homeless that reading became my lifeboat. I remember going to the library every single day sometimes twice a day if possible. It was that time when I was homeless as a kid that all those anxieties, limitations and everything that had been a deterrent to learning were ignored. The library was and is to this day still a sanctuary to me. Now as intriguing as that might sound the question remains how does this relate to others. Here's a simple thing that I do that I believe many people are to afraid to do. I ask a lot of questions. And I mean a lot of questions! Furthermore I'm not bashful about it either! I know I often don't have a great deal of the answers, especially on the fly. And that's ok. While for years I was ashamed to tell people I was homeless as a kid yet it was an education in vulnerability that gave me a grit for learning. I'm not advocating you need to be homeless or libraries need to be your personal sanctuary, though I think everyone should frequent libraries. What I'm saying is for you to be proud of your vulnerabilities, or whatever your socially perceived weaknesses is! We're human - we have flaws and that's ok! We delude ourselves with white and not so white lies. However when our skin becomes our most comfortable attire then we can connect with ourselves and others! And that's what life is all about! Making connections!
Last thing, there is a belief in some native South American cultures that knowledge is considered a key and that you don't just give your keys to strangers. The idea being that some things require a proof of labor or worth in the hearer. Side stepping the dangerous elitism potentials in this idea - sharing a vulnerability with someone or a client is scary but it's a risk that reaps ten fold! Now not everyone is worthy of your vulnerable pearls but that too can be incredibly insightful. If someone doesn't respond well to you being human, say asking a lot of questions, not knowing an answer at the moment, or whatever the quirk, then that's a clear indicator that that person has a bloated sense of self importance. And such people will always struggle connecting with others, their customers or audience. All expressions and efforts can be insights into ourselves and others. And when we are vulnerable we're truly authentic! There's a saying among especially creatives that "they would rather be unsuccessful and true to themselves than successful and have lied to themselves”. I believe that anything worth having is worth working hard for! There is a labor to wisdom that needs to be made. While there's hardly a one size fits all scenarios I truly believe that sharing our vulnerabilities are the closest we have to a skeleton key in connecting with people. So when we're vulnerable and proud of it we set the stage for a radical encounter that's more truthful and sincere than you can ever imagine! We open the doors to connect with people in the deepest and most human way possible by letting the light shine in through our wounds. So let us make real connections with people not just contact and as we challenge ourselves to live "Heart-First"!
Thank you for reading and please do feel free to comment below.