People work, move, change their lives completely to gain exposure. They climb the ladder, turn a blind eye, act irrationally, all to gain the publics interest and prestige. Perhaps House of Cards is messing with my perception of the world. I can’t help but think that in the end life boils down to the deep (dark) desires all people carry with them. Exposure, however, is far different from being exposed, but they stem from the same place, the desire to be known.
The other day I listened to a Tedx Talk by Brené Brown, a researcher-story teller (yes, that is indeed a thing, mostly because she made up the term, but still) who studies human connection, which is absolutely fascinating to me; after all, people watching and story telling are two of my favorite past times. In this talk, Brown addresses Connection and the feeling of Disconnection and how, through years of research, struggle, and more research, she was able to construct a theory for why, at their core, people are the way they are, and whey they feel the way they do about the world.
As I listened, her words struck my heart. They knotted my insides into a perfect bow and left me feeling like a hungover teenager in church on Sunday morning; convicted.
Brown talks about fear and shame, the beliefe that “I am not_____________ enough” which Drew can tell you, I struggle with every day. I realize that in our heart of hearts, if most of us are honest, we all feel that way. In her research she discovered that the world can, essentially, be broken down into two people groups, the “whole hearted” and the “fearful”. I must admit, though it pains me to do so (Brown, be proud, I am acting on your advice to be vulnerable) I tend to be the latter, though I long to be the former.
The Whole Hearted, have a sense of worthiness; they believe they deserve love and belonging. They go into the world, except the uncertainty and live, vulnerable to what comes their way. They don’t try to controle or predict. But rather accept and work through things in an open fashion.
The Fearful on the other hand, long for controle. They want to predict and guard themselves against any and everything that may harm them. They don’t believe in their worth, so they numb, deflect, and blame as a way to discharge their pain and discomfort.
It’s like Charlie’s desire to know why people love the wrong person, to which his teacher responds- “We accept the love we think we deserve.” He then relays those words to Sam (when she asks him why she always chooses the wrong guy).
Brown argues that the Whole Hearted make it through life because they are vulnerable and accept the love those around them offer, “They believe their vulnerability makes them beautiful”. The Fearful struggle because they never fully believe in the love (grace, acceptance, etc.) that is shown or given to them. She further suggests that one must posses courage and compassion to gain connection.
Courage (coming from the latin CORE, meaning heart, used to tell things with your WHOLE heart). Have courage to be imperfect.
Compassion. First to be kind to ones self, then to be kind and gracious to others.
Connection then comes as a result of authenticity. The letting go of the way you think you should be and accepting who you are.
Now, she is not suggesting the transition from one end of the spectrum to the other is easy, quite the opposite. She herself went through a year of therapy to cope with the idea of being vulnerable and all that it entails. It is hard, it is ugly, and painful. Relief will find you when you are open and honest, when you learn to let things go.
Ok kids, time for some real talk. The other weekend I nearly had a breakdown. I had been holding so much, too much, inside for too long for fear of having people think I don’t, quite frankly, have my shit together. I wanted to save face, keep my appearance shiny and clean.
The million dollar question became, how would I handle myself when the cracks threatened to burst? In the end, I chose a lifeline, I phoned a friend… I wanted to be a millionaire you guys (I had to, “phone a friend” always makes me think of Regis). The thing is, the moment Jill came on the line I felt a sense of relief. As I told her of the struggle and pain, I felt the burden becoming lighter, the tightness in my chest relax. She listened with love and responded with kindness.
If I never clicked the call button, never sent the text messages, never opened myself to others, I would become empty. A shell. By choosing to be vulnerable I allow others to speak into my life, which allows me to speak into the lives of those around me.
Action is required. One must learn to be exposed.