I was listening to Dr. Brene Brown this morning talk about vulnerability and shame. She was talking about the "tightrope" of vulnerability saying, "When we don't care at all what others think we lose our ability to connect, when we are defined by what people think we lose the courage to be vulnerable." I had to think about this for a long time and even still I am processing this - how this truth has affected me. I have fallen off both sides of this tightrope. Disconnecting with the world to guard myself from being wounded further and then chasing the validation of others. So how do we "walk this tightrope"? Brene told that she keeps a small piece of paper in her wallet, 1x1 inch and on it are the names of the people in her life whose opinion truly matter. She told an example of a make up artist asking if she had ever thought about botox for her wrinkles, this comment opened up a lot of insecurities of body image for her. Then when she got home her husband said "you look so beautiful today" and she immediately put her walls up thinking, oh you are just saying that because you love me...your opinion does count. WOW. Have you even thought something like that? I have. I have given so much of my energy/value to a stranger and then when someone I love who meets me in vulnerability I put all my walls up and discredit their words. Why? Why am I closing off myself to the person/people that should be on that tiny little list? Why do I so quickly give all of my value to the currency of an acquaintance? When these moments arise (and they SO often do!!) Brene says she asks herself if that person is on her list as a reference to her reaction.
This point of reference is bringing up so much for me. I am starting to realize that I keep falling off both sides so quickly - from disconnect to wide open - that I haven't made myself conscious of my list. Have I ever consciously made a list? I don't think so. I think I unconsciously have a list but is that even true with my life in this moment?
Which brings up another point to this thought? Who is on your list? What happens when my list changes and I don't mentally/emotionally acknowledge this? How does this affect my ability to connect and be vulnerable with my world? How does this affect my perception of self?
How is THIS perpetuating my falling off of the tightrope?
p.s. If you haven't heard Dr. Brene Brown before her TED talk is a great starting point.