Let’s face it, kids.
We can be such complicated human beings.
There are many sides to us.
And we’re not always comfortable with all our sides.
How vulnerable do we want to be?
Specifically, how vulnerable do we bloggers want to be?
Sure, there are some things we’ll share in private with our closest non-judgmental friends. We know they’ll support us; they won’t turn away. They’ll remain steadfast as we admit our deepest pains, our concerns, our sadness, our vulnerabilities, our confusing thoughts and feelings.
But how vulnerable do we want to be in our blogs?
How much of our insecurity, our not-knowing, our woundedness do we want to reveal?
I have found one of the biggest gifts of blogging–and the most challenging–is the sharing of vulnerability. The gifts reveal themselves as we gain confidence to type scary sentences. When we’re finally ready to tell our secrets, we’re often surprised to discover a huge support network ready to hug, to empathize, to embrace. This can feel so freeing–realizing that we’re not alone, that we’re among a sea of others who know the edges of what we’ve felt–and we can begin integrating shameful, painful or vulnerable parts of self.
The problem with revealing oneself on-line and off-line, to strangers and friends, is that the world likes to label. It’s not our imagination–people do tend to judge, discern, cement in categories. It is hard for us humans to live in not-knowing open spaces where we discern the multiplicity of others. So we put ourselves and others in categories, under solid labels.
And those categories and labels can hurt even more than the original pain–because we feel judged.
How vulnerable dare we bloggers be?
As vulnerable as we’re willing to be courageous. As vulnerable as we’re willing to let others view our perceived brokenness. As vulnerable as we’re willing to allow others to have their differing opinions about us. As vulnerable as our tender and gentle hearts can allow.
It’s not safe to be vulnerable before our hearts will allow for opposing opinions, before our hearts realize their innate courage, as in that cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz who finally realized his own strengths.
Yes, readers, there are secrets I won’t tell you. I can’t tell you, yet, because my heart isn’t ready. There are many things you won’t share of yourself–because your heart wisely keeps you sheltered as you build strength and confidence.
I love reading posts where people express vulnerability. Where they’re clear and ready to admit their uncertainty, their insecurity, their perceived failings, their flounderings…as well as their strengths, their daring, their courage, their pizzazz.
These bloggers share that they’re gay, frightened, liberal, conservative, unhappy, prejudiced, delighted, miserable, annoyed…fill in your own proclivity or inclination or shame…they speak it, truthfully, honestly, sharing.
Maybe their hearts pound in fright. Maybe they sweat. But they type the words because their heart has told them “it’s time”. Time to share. Time to reveal. Time to speak the truth.
Sometimes those posts unsettle us. The blatant honest disturbs our own half-buried feelings. They reflect an uncertainty, a vulnerability, that scares the bejesus out of our own uncertainties. These posts sometimes reflect what’s not yet entirely conscious in us, what still wishes to remain hidden. Yet, they invite the hidden to reveal itself.
The invitation is always there.
My heart has been scared typing vulnerabilities so many times in the past five or six years. I have wanted to erase, erase, press delete, c’mon quick! But I have heeded an inner call which also insists, “there are others out there who need to hear your truths, so that they can begin to embrace their own vulnerabilities more fully.”
When we share our vulnerabilities, we must realize that not everyone will listen with wide-open non-judgemental minds. Many will rush in to try to fix, to heal, to make better. (I once did that, too. Now I’ve learned that Sacred Listening is the greatest healer of all, and that striving to fix or heal may prove much more detrimental.) Some will scurry to tell their own stories without sitting patiently with your story. (I am guilty of that too often, especially on-line.)
Some will brazenly judge you. They will call you wrong. They will attempt to shame you. They will totally misunderstand what you’re trying to communicate. They will label you, throw you in their mental jail, and toss away the key.
But others, sweet others, will listen and find that same vulnerable resonance within. They will remember certain similar situations. They will relate. They will be with you, stay with you, cry with you, support you. They will help you integrate your vulnerabilities, precious soft places in your opening heart.
How vulnerable dare we be?
Ask your heart if it’s ready to share, if you’re strong enough.
Then tell us about the imperfect perfection of who you are.
We may even discovered that we really weren’t broken after all. You never know.