Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beautiful Vulnerability

When I write I hope to make a connection with you. I want you to feel as though you can hear my voice. I want to leave you with information that is helpful -- real, honest stuff that will build you up! But here's the truth: writing that way takes more courage than I have sometimes. To do that I have to allow myself to be vulnerable. 

Some examples of thoughts I've had:

I've been through some difficult life struggles, but you've been through worse. You think I'm shallow.

I have no degree whatsoever; you have a PhD. You're smirking at my little book reports.

I have five kids; you have ten. (Or two, and you're wondering if I've figured out yet how to prevent pregnancy.)

I'm SO excited because I just ran a mile! You run ten miles every morning.

I just got caught up on laundry for the first time in ten years; you never go to sleep at night until every scrap is folded and put away.

It's endless. Roaming through the blogosphere should help, but sometimes it just makes me feel more unworthy.

Our hearts are fragile things. It takes courage to open them up.

I would much rather write about what Tolstoy thinks or what Augustine thinks than write about what I think. After spending a considerable amount of time inside the heads of these writers, I consider them to be my friends. (Don't laugh.) Sometimes I hunker behind them. (You might not think highly of me, but everyone thinks highly of my friends!)

But I've noticed when I do scrape together the courage to tell my own stories, the response is usually uplifting. The sting of negative criticism is soothed by the balm of understanding. One of the main reasons I read great classic literature is to become more empathetic. Putting myself out there though -- yikes! --that's a whole different thing!

When you find out about my imperfections, you might not like me anymore. But I can't make a connection with others without taking that risk.

What keeps us out of connection is the fear that we are not worthy of connection. Brené Brown

My stats rise, then decline, then rise again. Why? I scratch the back of my head. On the downer days I sometimes feel a little blue. I'm not worthy. I must have used a comma when I should have used a semicolon! I must have used a word that is now politically incorrect! Then someone will leave a comment that is so encouraging, it brings tears to my eyes. In those moments I know I must keep trying. I must strive to open up the heavy door to my heart. I must take risks while exploring my thoughts about the classics and life.

One thing is certain: when you show courage by making yourself vulnerable, I think it's beautiful.

I want to be beautiful too.

Last week, I stumbled upon a video of a talk by Brené Brown. If this post spoke to you and you feel that you struggle with feelings of unworthiness like me, take 20 minutes to watch this. If you don't have time right now, book mark the page and come back to it when you do. This is one of the best talks I've ever heard. 

Note: Since I wrote this post, I've started reading Brené Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection. So far it's been really helpful. I look forward to sharing more thoughts about it in the future.


  1. Adriana,

    Beautiful post. Your vulnerability is touching and inspiring. Thank you for opening up and sharing your thoughts and feelings. The best writing comes from the heart. :)


    1. Christine! You are always so kind and supportive. You probably know as much about my imperfections as anyone! And yet here you are, cheering me on! Thank you. :)

  2. Adriana,
    How funny...your blog is one of the few blogs in which I habitually read every post. I look forward to it. Why? Probably because it is personal, and I do find it inspirational.

    1. Ruth, That encourages me SO much! I'm truly honored that you read every post. Thank you. :)

  3. Adriana, you already are beautiful. Thank you for sharing from the heart. You express the insecurities we all feel, and that draws us closer together because we realize yes, there are people out there just like us, trying to make meaningful connections and share our lives and souls with one another. We ARE worthy of this joy -- we were made for it, in fact. I, for one, am very happy to have discovered you & your blog (we can thank our friend Tim -- the blogger, not the donut shop -- for that). Blessings!

    1. Wow. I have the strongest urge to print out all these comments and hang them on my fridge door!So, so kind.: :)

      It seems like a lot of people are lonely and afraid nowadays. As bloggers we have a platform that we can use to comfort and encourage! You and Tim are both so good at this! I think of you as my blog neighbors. :) The other morning I was at your place crying cleansing tears and today I laughed so hard at Tim's that my daughter said, "Mom? Are you OK?" (I was laughing at myself. If you read his comments, you'll see what I mean.)

      P.S. I don't think we ever let Tim in on the donut shop story.

    2. On second thought -- if I send people over to Tim's and they find out how ditsy I am, I might lose some credibility and esteem!!! ;)

    3. To quote a kindly though somewhat ineffectual dad whom we've read about recently: "Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. Wherever you ... are known, you must be respected and valued; and you will not appear to less advantage for having a couple of—or I may say, three—very silly [comma splices]."

    4. HA!hehehe . . . So cleverly quoted! And SO gracious!

      If the writing instructor can see past my comma splices, there is hope for me yet! :D

      (But THREE in ONE day?!)

    5. That was totally hypothetical....

    6. You are you saying there is NOT hope for me, Jeannie? ;) I'm confused . . .

    7. The 3 comma splices was totally hypothetical. The "there is hope for you" part is totally realistic. The fact that I used the same adverb 3 times is totally (make that 4 times) unacceptable.
      Whew, even I'm tired of listening to me! :-)

    8. They weren't hypothetical at all; I really did use three comma splices in one day! (And I almost did it again just now!) Jeannie, you're the BEST! :)

  4. "When you find out about my imperfections, you might not like me anymore."

    In my experience, Adriana, people who find my imprefections an insurmountabel obstacle to liking me aren't my type of folks anyway, and I'm sure not theirs!

    You, on the other hand, are a great blog neighbor. It's like sitting down for tea every time I stop by here.


    1. That's a good thought to remember, Tim. Thank you for that.

      And I'm happy to put on the tea kettle anytime!

  5. You've beautifully captured my own struggles. It encourages me to know I'm not alone, I hope it has same effect for you. Be encouraged! You are a great writer. I wish I could express myself the way you do.

    1. Matthew! You must have NO idea how you inspired me! I LOVED your "About" page where you shared that amazing list of things about yourself. Oh my word. It was such a great way to get to know you! Did you take that down? I just went to your blog and I don't see it. I recently wrote a post along the same line called "Opening Up." I might make a page out of it at some point.

  6. This is my first time at your blog, found via Tim's. I looked up the talk you mentioned, then from there more or less stumbled up on another talk by Brené on the topic of shame:

    Thanks for the food for thought, Adriana :)

  7. Wow. Thank you for sharing this! This talk was great.

    Love this:

    "Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."

    Had a good laugh about this:

    "We call ourselves the 'Breakdown Babes'... We're fallin' apart and feelin' fantastic!"


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