“Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say “This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.” – Ashton Kutcher
Yeah, it’s sappy, but we’re going to stick with it, because the realness in that quote is really real. For real.
Six years ago, I was at the pinnacle of living. A 20 year old junior in college with a great group of friends, a loving relationship, a happy family, stellar drinking game skills, and I just got my first car; it’s safe to say things were all headed to the stars for me. Life was a party and I was loving it.
As you could probably guess, sh*t hit the fan in a big way. Life took its size 12 and got me where it hurts. I got roped to the horse and dragged through the mud for miles. Run over by a bus. Crushed under the weight of a 100 ton boulder. I can keep inserting metaphors for getting hurt here, I have the power of the internet, but we get the picture.
The worst part about getting hurt isn’t the initial shock and pain, it’s how we transition our lives after.
For me, I partied harder and drank more. I numbed the pain.
I put up a fake smile and acted like nothing happened. I pretended.
I lost a large deal of compassion and stopped caring. I hurt others.
I took whatever vulnerability I had and put it in the safe of a castle, surrounded by the sweetest moat filled with killer crocodiles, and equipped the castle with Gatling guns and heat seeking missiles to defend against all intruders.
And I told myself it was OK to live this way.
And I was wrong.
When we take away our vulnerability, we also take away all the joy, the love, and the happiness of life.
I lost of all of that and I lost myself.
Because we simply cannot have both.
We can’t avoid pain and experience joy.
We can’t avoid heartbreak and feel love.
We can’t avoid sadness and find happiness.
The reason many of us avoid feeling vulnerable is to avoid the feeling of shame.
It’s that feeling that says we don’t belong. That we don’t deserve something. That we’re not good enough. It’s that feeling you get when your sisters force you to play Pretty, Pretty Princess with them and you lose because your head is too big for the tiara and the rings don’t fit on your fingers.
It’s a word that’s seldom used because none of us want to talk about it.
No one wants to feel that we’re too fat, too skinny, too stupid, too poor, too ugly. No one wants to feel like we suck and we aren’t good enough to play.
And so we avoid life all together. We avoid the game. We hide in our impenetrable safety bubble because it’s easier to stay in our comfort zone than it is to open up to the world.
From one guy whose stayed in his castle to all other castles in the land, let’s not do this.
There is only one way we can unlock that safe where our vulnerability hides and open up to the world. One key. One word:
Gonads. Balls. Cojones. Testicular Fortitude.
No no, let’s stick with courage.
Courage is that unseen force inside each of us that drives us to break out of our shell and show the world what we’re capable of.
It’s what gets us out on the dance floor to roll around like a maniac because we don’t have any moves. It’s what gets us up on stage when were nervous as h*ll and lets us sing our *sses off. It’s what lets us make the decisions we know are right so we can become who we want to be.
Plain and simple: Courage is what says I don’t give a sh*t about what you think!
The fear of shame and the walls we build up around our vulnerability will take away all of the meaningful experiences and emotions in our lives.
We need to find the courage within ourselves to step up and say that we’re good enough just the way we are and that we belong.
Let’s be the person who shows up to the party in a ridiculous outfit that we think is cool.
Be the person who goes out and lives our crazy dreams regardless of what others may think.
Be the person who does that dance. Who sings that song. Who kisses who we want.
Be the first to say “I love you”.
Be the first to open up.