On the surface, they might seem the same. But I assure you sharing and vulnerability are quite different. They feel differently in the body. And they show up differently in the way we connect with others.
I love to share. I open up like a book and share pretty much anything about myself with pretty much anyone who is willing to listen. I have many a times received a poke in the ribs from my husband when I’m in the back of a cab as I am sharing my (our) life story with the driver. He gives me a look that says “...please don’t share that. I don’t want everyone knowing our business.” I look back sheepishly, forgetting that he doesn’t share in the same way I do. He keeps things closer to his chest and shares selectively, when he feels it’s appropriate. I sometimes envy that restraint and wish I held things a little closer rather than sharing so openly. But it’s not in my nature. I am wired to share - to make connections through sharing with others.
Sharing is telling a story. Pulling your audience into the experience with you. Giving all the details: the color of the sky, the smell of the air, the look in someone’s eyes, and very, very loosely - the general feeling surrounding the story. “It felt sad….it felt hard….I felt happy…”
On the surface, sharing can look a lot like vulnerability. I struggle quite a bit with this. I feel deeply and share intimately, which feels like I am being vulnerable. But when a true opportunity arises to be vulnerable, I can actually feel my body physically lock up from the inside. My armor clanks tightly into place, my eyes gloss over a bit and I smile and say “I’m fine”.
What happens in these moments? Why do I suddenly feel incapable of sharing?
Because sharing and vulnerability are different.
When I’m sharing, I am very careful to never divulge the emotions beneath the feelings. Because sharing those emotions is too painful, too raw and too hard. It’s too...vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is inviting you into my soul to see how my insides work. How I feel. What I fear. What hurts the most. And that feels off limits for me. It’s too scary. Too much. Too…vulnerable. I cover it all up so it can’t be seen. I keep my armor on tight and smile and say “I’m fine” and continue sharing.
But it comes at a cost. Not being vulnerable actually allows fear and anger and sadness and all of those emotions to fester inside. Because they want to be seen. So they can be validated. So that you can release them. And make space for peace and joy and acceptance.
So how do we become vulnerable? Brene Brown says that we must let ourselves be seen. We must love with our whole hearts. And we must believe that we are enough.
Such profound statements that seem simple on the surface, but they are anything but. We must dig deep and muster up our courage to allow for vulnerability to show up in our lives. It’s definitely a daily practice (struggle) for me.
Now I want to hear from you. Where do you allow vulnerability to show up in your life?
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