Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Being Vulnerable

We watched the following three videos a few weeks ago in our Lunch and Learn at work:

I watched the first video last year and it was life changing for me. I became a more authentic person and it has made me stronger and connect better with others. Watching the second two videos was just as life changing so I wanted to pass them along to you. I hope you get as much out of them as I did! 

The third video was especially life giving to me. It's a cartoon about what to say and what not to say when someone gets vulnerable with you. I'm totally guilty of seeing the silver lining when a friend is sharing with me. But that is not what they want. 

The person being vulnerable also doesn't want to hear how to fix the problem. When I used to go to G with my problems he would try to fix it. It's just what he wanted to do. Fix it for me. I think that is common for men, they don't want to see their wife upset so they want to fix... A pastor years ago gave this illustration: A woman is in a mud puddle and the man is out of the mud trying to help her. Giving her a tree branch to hold on to. Yelling instructions on how to get out. But the woman doesn't want to get of the mud. She wants the guy to just get in the mud with her... That is true for me. When I've had a bad day and I want to vent to G I don't want him to fix it. I just want him to get in the mud with me. I know how to fix it. I know it's probably not as bad as I think. But in that moment? I just want to be in the mud and G to be in the mud with me. We have that code now. If I start telling my problem and G starts telling me how to fix it I'll stop him and say "Just get in the mud" and he does. He empathizes and it makes all the difference!

Getting vulnerable is scary. Because you might cry. Because you might get hurt. It requires taking a leap of faith and trusting that the person listening will receive what you say and be gentle with you. So my advice is to be vulnerable. Find your island of people you trust and show your true self.  There is no greater feeling in the world than to be known and loved. Loved even at your worst. Understood. Given grace.

My advice if you are the lucky recipient of someone being vulnerable with you. Listen. Just sit with them. They want to hear "me too." The two most powerful words in the English language. Knowing you've been there. That you get it. Get in the mud with them. That's real empathy.  That's real connection.


Robyn Proctor Hinkle said...

Being vulnerable is scary for a lot of people. I really like the mud analogy!

The Pink Growl said...

Vulnerability is hard. But in the end it's so good to feel truly known.