Living Wholeheartedly

by Amalia

This is an excellent talk by Dr. Brené Brown. And yes, she’s a research professor who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. So this talk is actually based on her decade of research into this topic! I’m not going to write all the things she said, because you really need to watch it (she’s a great storyteller!).

But there’s one thing that kinda struck me, which is of course vulnerability. I hate to be vulnerable. I really hate that because I feel so weak. And I don’t like to be weak. When friends asked me if I were okay, I would say yes, although I felt like crying inside. When I felt betrayed, I barely wanted to admit it. When somebody didn’t treat me right, I acted as if I didn’t care, but I actually did. The point is,  I never wanted to admit that I was affected, hurt, or broken-hearted, especially to the person who caused me so. And I never wanted to let myself loving someone so deeply because of fear of separation. This is all related to weakness (and being looked as a weak human being), fear of something, and my image (of being strong and the urge to keep that image with me).

Then I questioned myself, WHY IN THE WORLD DID I DO THAT?!

Clearly, I’ve been unconscious! And I was awaken by Brene, this video. She taught me that it’s okay to be vulnerable. She said, "Vulnerability is at the core of fear, anxiety, shame, and very difficult emotions that we all experience. But vulnerability is also the birth place of joy, love, belonging, creativity, faith…."

We tend to deal with our vulnerability by "numbing" vulnerability. Evidence includes debts, over weight, addiction to alcohol or drugs or even busy-ness. But the problem is that, we can’t selectively numb emotions. If we numb "the bad things" like vulnerability, grief, shame, and disappointments, we automatically numb the other good things, like joy, gratitude, and happiness. That’s when we feel miserable, looking for the purpose and meaning of life, etc. And that’s bad, isn’t it?

So how do we do it? How do we live wholeheartedly?

We have to fully embrace vulnerability, not deny it. We’re not only have to embrace our vulnerability, but also need to embrace the vulnerability of others. It’s our vulnerability that makes us beautiful. The willingness to love others first with our whole hearts. The willingness to do something where there are no guarantees. The willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out (ouch!).

We also need to have the courage to be imperfect and let ourselves deeply and vulnerably seen. Tell the world about who we really are. Be honest about it and never let what other people think about us in any way paralyze us. And that’s the first step of worthiness, believing that we are worthy of love and belonging. That’s really important in order to live wholeheartedly. We also need to be compassionate. Caring others genuinely and loving them with our whole hearts. To practice gratitude and joy is also essential. Being thankful for what we have and honoring what’s ordinary about our lives: our loved ones, friends, community, and nature. And lastly, to believe that we’re enough 🙂

We want more guarantees. We we want to believe that we we’re not going to get hurt and that bad things aren’t going to happen and they are, but there is a guarantee that nobody talks about and that is that if we don’t allow ourselves to experience joy and love, we will definitely miss out on filling our reservoir with what we need when those hard things happen

I’m going to start to embrace my vulnerability for now. Somehow I found it much easier to embrace other’s vulnerabilities than my own. Bismillah. Let me be free.