The Power of Sharing your Vulnerability with Others

I had a completely different blog post in mind when I sat down yesterday to hand write my post out before a tea date. I wanted to share other things with you, but I was pleasantly surprised last night when I turned on my laptop to discover a video that someone I admire posted online. It moved me to tears, and I decided to share this video before talking about anything else.

Anyone who knows me, and I’m sure those who have seen my art, know that I adore Eva LaRue. I’m sure a lot of us have that one celebrity we admire, obsess over, or secretly crush on. We’re human. It’s natural. For me, Eva LaRue is my go-to celebrity when I sit down to draw because I adore everything she stands for. Well, last night she shared with her followers a video of a lecture she gave at a convention for the Bahai faith, where she is a member. Anyone who knows me also knows how unreligious I am. My mother tried to force it on me as a child. Ever since then, I haven’t allowed myself to go down that avenue, but I respect those who do. Maybe one day that will change, but for now religion is not for me. Despite a lecture for the Bahai faith, and because it was her lecture, I opened the link and tuned into the video. I sat down for a 13 minute inspirational speech she wrote about her struggle with vulnerability when CSI Miami and her marriage ended.

My journey into vulnerability only recently begun when my therapist recommended Brene Brown’s book The Power of Vulnerability. Take a peek at the blog post I wrote on her book: Wholehearted Living: Accepting Who You Are. Some things just seem to smack you over the head and open your eyes, and Brown’s book certainly did that for me. It opened up a world for me I never allowed myself to discover. I was content to wallow in my own self-pity, and I couldn’t believe that there were others out there who feel the same things I do. Nor did I realize other people have going through similar situations to the ones I have found myself in. We all like to believe we are completely alone when there are others out there who understand. Brown’s book showed me not only have others been in similar shoes to mine, but it is ok to sit with all of those yucky emotions. It’s not ok to get stuck in them, but allowing yourself to feel grief, depression, anxiety, etc. helps you move on to better emotions.

I always thought there was something wrong with me because of how depressed and anxious I am. I struggled through horrible events in the first 18 years of my life that taught me to bottle things up. I blamed myself for my biological father raping me while my mother struggled to get better from her mini stroke. They went through a horrible divorce, and everything (it felt like) ended when my mother passed away during my first semester in college. At 18, how do you move past something like that? You learn to bottle things up, you put your emotions on the back burner, and you become almost mechanical when you begin living your life. It took me many years and the discovery of my current therapist for me to understand how unhealthy that was for me. We worked through what we could work through, but it wasn’t until this year that I realized how ok it is to simply wallow in the bad emotions, to allow myself to feel those bad emotions instead of bottling them up. It’s ok to be vulnerable. And for me, simply by being vulnerable through sharing my story through this blog, vulnerability has become a source of strength for me. Brown’s book opened my eyes, and seeing my favorite actress speak about vulnerability only made me want to see her lecture even more.

It was a relatively short video, I’m sure only an edited portion of her full lecture. However, 13 minutes is manageable, especially when you are dying to see the season finale of Game of Thrones before someone eventually spoils it for you. As I cooked dinner, I sat down to listen to the powerful lecture Eva gave. By the time I made it halfway through, I was in tears. I may not be able to understand how it felt to be in her shoes losing two important things such as a role on a long-running tv show or a marriage, but the emotions she discussed and how she reacted to them I could certainly understand.

Grief is universal. My mother passed away in 2010, and I still find myself grieving. I’m not entirely certain you ever stop grieving over a loved one. I grieved her loss, and I grieved the loss of the life I had began starting for myself. Leaving college to care for my younger brother and a mentally-disabled uncle was difficult for me as an 18 year old whose life had just begun.

Eva gave a quote by the Dalai Lama. She said that “I would only lose if I lost the lesson.” It reminded me of conversations my therapist and I had together about how my experiences have sort of molded who I am today. Going through college as an independent student who couldn’t rely on parents to help finance anything, working full-time while my friends complained they couldn’t possibly manage a full-time job and go to college, having to fight tooth and nail for everything I had while many people around me were simply handed the opportunities I fought for…all of this molded who I am today. I learned to be independent, how to work hard, how to manage my time (which college students are notorious for not knowing how to do), and many other things. Looking back at the last seven years since Mom died, I am certainly a stronger, more independent person than I was when she dropped me off at my dorm room in 2010. Without knowing it, or sometimes needing to convince myself to do it, I found the lessons in all of the pain I was dealt. I struggled, and is still struggling, but I’m learning the lessons that come with those struggles.

I’m not sure I will ever be able to explain how that video affected me so much it brought me to tears. I can only guess that everything she said I was able to take to heart. Watching my only celebrity idol allow herself to be vulnerable and discuss those tough emotions touched me in ways I still can’t understand. A part of me, I know, was relieved that I really am not alone in those yucky emotions. I’m hard-headed. Sometimes I just need reminded often I’m not alone. Brown’s book was a great lesson in it when a woman who created a career around researching vulnerability shares some of the ways she is struggles with vulnerability. Those small moments in therapy when my therapist reminds me subtly that she struggles with moments of being vulnerable. We’re human. Everyone struggles eventually, whether they admit it or not. I think watching Eva talk about her experience with it was a good kick in the heart that I’m not alone. The video touched me so much I wrote to her to tell her how much it touched me. It simply moved me that much. I’m not sure I could ever put into words how that video touched me, but please take a moment out of your day to check out the video for yourself. And if you really need to be persuaded into allowing yourself to feel vulnerable just to watch someone else be so, she begins her lecture by singing one of my favorite songs from my favorite musical, Wicked. Please check out her video here: Bahai Teachings: Heartbreak, Forgiveness, and Growth by Eva LaRue.

Until my next post, stay strong and positive.

 

4 thoughts on “The Power of Sharing your Vulnerability with Others”

  1. I read your inspiring post, Athena, and followed with the Eva LaRue’s video. And the beautiful thing about a blog post such as yours, honest, courageous to write, personal, is that you never know where it will lead the reader. You don’t know what reader might have been lacking just one piece of the puzzle to help nurture his/her growth. And the stranger thing is how something possibly outside your own thoughtful direction might lead a reader to even greater vistas. I am now thinking about how, on a whim, I “favorited” the Bahai site that showcased Eva LaRue’s message. Who knows how important that might be in some unknown future? Under the duress of a personal dilemma a week, a month, a year from now, I might remember that “favorited site” and find there the wisdom I need to save even my life. May I thank you now for being that conduit that indirectly led me there? That might be how God works through one person to reach another.

    • Thank you so much. It is truly inspiring to read comments such as yours. I absolutely agree. You never know when you might need something, and I’m always surprised when I discover something that helps me discover something about myself. Good luck on your own journey!

  2. This is a powerful post, thank you for sharing your story. Brene Brown is amazing, I first saw her Ted Talk then I was at the library not long ago and saw the book you are describing. I think I will check it out now because of this.
    Victor Frankl wrote about how our most horrible circumstances can give us meaning. He survived the holocaust, survived Aushwitz, Dachau, and one other camp before finally being liberated at the end of the 2nd World War. It was his belief that the suffering he endured gave his life purpose. If you believe in reincarnation, check out the books by Micheal Newton, “Journey of Souls”, and “Destiny of Souls”. It gives a new perspective on how the things that happen to us in life are all lessons, opportunities to learn and grow. I’ve always felt when life is whipping me hard that the universe is paying special attention to me, forcing me to change to become better.
    You are an amazing person, and you will only become better because of this!

    • I will have to look more into Frankl. As an historian, the Holocaust intrigues me. I’ve read several accounts of those who have survived. Thank you for your recommendations. I will certainly explore them, and thank you for your positive feedback 🙂 Hearing comments such as yours and others feeds me strength to continue sharing my story.

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