Contemplative Help for Becoming Vulnerable and Connecting

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Before I became “an author” I blogged volumes of uncensored searching . I shared quite openly my family’s struggles with parenting, marriage, and finding purpose. In fact, those early blogs became one of my bestselling books, Growing the Good Life. But when I was blogging, I was only writing to imaginary people. Maybe one of two friends read what I wrote and commented by cheering me on. I realized at the end of 2018 I’d stopped sharing.

For some reason publication made it real. The dream I had worked to attain attacked some level of vulnerability in me I had not expected. All of a sudden the imaginary readers were sending me emails, rating my books, and judging my conclusions. To be fair, most of the feedback was extremely positive, but still the naked feeling sent me reeling back into protective mode. I abandoned the blog I had faithfully maintained for years and stuck with shallow book promotions posts on Facebook.

I’ve watched strong women this year, and read some challenging books that all point to the same thing

  • We are here to connect and we realize our true selves within our relationships.

“The natural habitat for truth us in interpersonal relationships.” - Josef Pieper

  • We can only truly connect with others when we tear down our false selves - or, connection only happens through being vulnerable.

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.” ―Madeleine L'Engle

Becoming vulnerable is an active choice but it requires some soul searching. Contemplative practice is like a workout for your soul. It takes strength to perform the brave act of coming to the table without any makeup, titles, or costumes. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Alison

Vulnerability Tuesday, September 27, 2016 Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

“Did you ever imagine that what we call “vulnerability” might just be the key to ongoing growth? In my experience, healthily vulnerable people use every occasion to expand, change, and grow. Yet it is a risky position to live undefended, in a kind of constant openness to the other—because it means others could sometimes actually wound us. Indeed, vulnera comes from the Latin for “to wound.” But only if we take this risk do we also allow the opposite possibility: the other might also gift us, free us, and even love us. Read More

How to Love: Legendary Zen Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on Mastering the Art of “Interbeing” BY MARIA POPOVA

And yet because love is a learned “dynamic interaction,” we form our patterns of understanding — and misunderstanding — early in life, by osmosis and imitation rather than conscious creation. Read More

Brene Brown: How Vulnerability Can Make Our Lives Better Dan Schawbel

Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. I was raised in a “get ‘er done” and “suck it up” family and culture (very Texan, German-American). The tenacity and grit part of that upbringing has served me, but I wasn’t taught how to deal with uncertainty or how to manage emotional risk. I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. Learning how to be vulnerable has been a street fight for me, but it’s been worth it. Read More

The Vulnerability Revolution: How a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens is changing the world Jennifer Kunst Ph.D.

There is a shift that is beginning to happen in our psychological world today, and it is a shift that we desperately need.

It is a shift away from:

  • the power of positive thinking with its promise of personal and unlimited success and happiness;

  • the quick fix and fast escape from struggle;

  • the maverick mentality of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and “never let them see you cry.”

In essence, it is a shift away from the cult of perfectionism toward the sacredness of the ordinary.

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It is a shift toward:

  • recognition of our needs and our dependence on others;

  • compassion, gratitude, and humility as practices that lead to satisfaction and meaning;

  • embracing the fact and value our human vulnerability. Read More

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