December 4, 2013

Be Vulnerable (Be Brave)

What does it mean to be brave? The Oxford Dictionary claims it's the readiness to face and endure danger or pain. Certain kinds of bravery are revered in our culture; others are overlooked. I think it's brave to be emotionally vulnerable--to face fear, hurt, shame, disappointment, and grief. To not only face these emotions, but to honor and tend to them.

Yet there are few models of brave vulnerability. Our cultural discourse leans toward judgment and certainty. In response, we create emotional armor. Armor that disconnects us from others. It disconnects us from ourselves. This protection might allow us to face pain, but it's not sustainable for enduring pain. It's not wholly brave.

Before we can be brave, we must understand vulnerability. We must explore our tender places and gradually expose them--in small and safe ways. I think it's brave to declare a dream, share a difficult piece of our story, and lead from our hearts. It's brave to be uncertain and try anyway, to express gratitude and love, and to make purposeful choices (perhaps different from those around us). I think vulnerability is a gift. And as I accept this gift, I become stronger, braver, and more alive.

It's not easy. And it's never complete. We can spend a lifetime noticing and embracing our vulnerabilities. We can spend a lifetime understanding what it means to be brave. A lifetime fully lived and experienced. Sounds like a worthwhile journey.


  1. I second you. Since I started to learn to accept my vulnerability and sensitivity and acknowledge, honour and embrace the power of both, my life is changing for the better and I am very grateful (and also proud) for having set the first steps on this journey.

    1. grateful for and proud of the journey. cheers to that, elke!