The inspiration for this post came from Dr. Brown at the 2013 Global Leadership Summit.
As I sat in my seat at the Summit I was getting a little restless. Sitting for so many hours on end really is draining, but then this amazing woman came to the stage and gave this amazing and heartfelt and honest talk on love and vulnerability. My thoughts were, “This woman just became my idol. She is awesome!”. I felt like a kid again looking up to someone the admire for who they are and the impact they have made in their life. I want to be like her.
Dr. Brown started by talking about four things: vulnerability, courage, leadership, shame. Then she went on to say that there are two irreducible needs of any human being and that is love and belonging. My favorite thing about this woman was that she was courageous to be vulnerable when most of us think that being vulnerable is the opposite of courageous. She also described love in a way that was real and authentic. It is messy and gritty. A struggle and imperfect. But the perfect love is imperfect love. We need to look at all the poisonous instances in life and relationships and acknowledge them properly then we take the steps to work through them and move on from them.
Love doesn’t keep a filing cabinet of wrongs.
Vulnerability is something that is looked down upon in leadership and in our society. And secretly within ourselves we don’t want to be vulnerable because it is scary. We care what people think, we care how we are perceived and when we have the slightest inkling that the response to our vulnerability isn’t going to be as positive as we want it to be or whatever this vulnerability reveals won’t work out in our favor…we run. We run and then we convince ourselves that we have abundant strength for hiding our feelings, keeping our mouths shut, and just simply moving on. That is calledstuffing. And it is cowardly.
She used this idea of an arena. Those in the arena are the vulnerable fighters because they are willing to ask the hard questions and open up. If we aren’t in that arena we have no business to criticize or critique those who are inside of it opening up, being beaten and bruised, let down, scrutinized all for this idea of love, vulnerability, and acceptance. That’s courage. Vulnerability is courage.
She also talked about the idea of belonging and how we desire that, we crave that. There needs to be a space where people can show up with their messiness, their complications, their pain and they can be seen for who they are. That is radical love. It’s acceptance that shows love. If we expect everyone to show up perfect we are fooling ourselves and we are putting on a fake front for those around us and those who may be meeting us for the first time. We can’t be relational that way, we can’t love that way. Dr. Brown made me realize that a facade is intimidating, it isn’t relatable. Vulnerability is relatable. It is taking that first step to let others know it is ok to come as you are, we’ve all had our days, and Jesus prefers the real us.
I was truly inspired by everything Dr. Brown discussed and I have barrely scratched the surface of everything in my pages upon pages of notes. But she left us with this question…
What if I had shown up?
That’s that question that we ask ourselves when we feel like we didn’t give something our all. When we timidly hide from being bold and courageous. When we hide from being vulnerable.
What if I had been truly honest? What if I had let them see who I am? See my heart?
When we hide from love.
What if I had offered this? Or done that? Or said that?
When we have to ask ourselves those questions we haven’t been those warriors that we were called to be. The people that are supposed to have courage and that could really influence the world if we just stepped up to that plate, with our palms up. Vulnerability on one side. Love on the other. And faith flowing from your heart where your Savior resides, trusting that He will fight for you…but He is calling you to something greater.