This week I was talking to my mother as she talked to me about not being my “usual, happy, bubbly self.” I wanted to hide from the world as I felt my imperfections seeping out, unable to plaster the smile on. I asked her how my patients and others that I would like to think highly of me would react if they could see me in that moment, not at my best. She said, they will say “You are human.”
I know when someone opens up to me and shares with me their faults, fears, or other imperfections it brings a sense of deeper intimacy, compassion, and connection that cannot be achieved without that kind of vulnerability. However, I notice the shame I feel at admitting those things to the world in my self. It feels terrifying. We are taught not to cry, to look a certain way, to follow the rules, and to not disturb the status quo. Except, everything that inspires us fits into none of those molds. I think about the straight As I got in school because everyone told me how important that was, looking back, that form of perfection wasn’t that important either, and the anxiety it took to get them tore me apart. Perfection is an illusion and so I am trying to give up the quest. Brene Brown wrote a whole book on this, on Daring Greatly, and so as I seek the support of her words I will share them with you as well, so maybe you can be inspired to Dare Greatly today as well.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”
“Vulnerability is not about fear, grief, and dissappointment. It is the birthplace of everything we are hungry for.”