“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
– Criss Jami
The goal of this blog is to give my sons an inside look at who I am. In order to provide them with this insiders perspective, I know I have to be as vulnerable and open as possible. Unfortunately, this does not come naturally to me.
I am not innately a ‘heart on my sleeve’ type of person. Nor would I characterize myself as guarded or defensive either; I just tend to keep to myself.
At my father’s funeral service, there wasn’t a eulogy, but rather an open microphone for those in attendance to share their thoughts or memories. The service went on for hours as people lined up to share their experiences and reflections.
It was heartwarming to hear from the many people that cared for my father, but it was a little sad to realize that they knew a version of him I had not yet gotten to know and now never would.
From everything that was said, one particular comment has always stuck out. At the time I didn’t really understand it, which is probably why it stuck out. However, now I think I know what my dad’s friend was trying to say.
He talked about how he had viewed life before he met my father. He expressed a need to try to keep up appearances; not let his guard down and ensure the world saw him for how he wanted to be seen.
Then he met my dad, who willingly shared the most difficult and painful parts of his story. A man who openly shared his struggles and failures without fear of judgment.
He called my dad “the most broken vessel” he knew. Which struck me as an odd comment. I wasn’t really sure what he was talking about at the time. Now I understand he was referring to vulnerability.
The line of people at his funeral got up and spoke because my dad was vulnerable. He let people into his life in a deep and profound way and it changed them. Their way of paying tribute to that was to share those changes publicly-to be vulnerable themselves.
Once I came to the realization that my dad was uniquely vulnerable, it became a quality that I admired; something I wished to embody in my own life. But it just wasn’t in the cards for me. My dad was an extrovert, while I am an extreme introvert. I convinced myself that it was easy for him to be vulnerable and impossible for me.
Then I watched Brene Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability. She is a researcher and authority on vulnerability and she posits that vulnerability comes from a place of courage.
I then realized that vulnerability had nothing to do with being an introvert or an extrovert. Rather, it was a reflection of how secure and courageous you are.
It is through this act of courage that you invite into your life some of the best parts of the human experience: love, connection, closeness, growth, learning, security, and peace (just to name a few).
The mission statement of this blog is to be a tribute to my love for my sons, to help them connect with me and encourage them to learn and grow, to empower them find security in their own identities. If these are my goals, then it will require me to be vulnerable.
It is easy for me to muster up this courage when I write to my sons. However, the thought of making these writings public evokes a mountain of doubts and fears. So I will take my fathers lead and be a broken vessel.
- The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
- The Price of Invulnerability TED Talk by Brene Brown
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