Embracing Vulnerability | Project.Unleashed

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This process of Project:Unleashed is teaching me so much.

It takes a conscious, persistent effort to resist old habits; daily gentle reminders to yourself to ignore that voice that whispers you aren’t good enough, to release that feeling of fear or guilt, or to have the courage to take a risk. Some days I am better at diligently listening to these reminders, others I am not. Some days I feel like I have more motivation to tackle the world, other days feel like a regression into the safety of old emotions. And I realized recently why it is so easy to succumb to some of those negative emotions. It all comes down to vulnerability.

I first learned of Brene Brown several years ago through a blog somewhere that spoke of her studies on authenticity. Recently I was exploring her website again reading more about her research when I stumbled across her newest book, Daring Greatly. I was instantly drawn to it — with a name like that, how could I not? I was checking out the preview of the first few pages when I read the mention of her TED talk on vulnerability. As it was the catalyst to the project, I decided to listen in.

Wow. I felt like she was talking directly to me.

“We numb vulnerability. We try to numb the bad emotions, but then we numb everything. Joy, gratitude, happiness. Then we are miserable and looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable. And it becomes a vicious cycle.“

Oh how I can identify with this cycle. I spent such a long time trying to numb the bad emotions, trying to ignore the grief, the pain, the fear, the guilt, the loneliness, the unworthiness, that I ended up numbing the good emotions. No wonder I ended up feeling like I was emotionally cold, incapable of any sort of extreme and always ‘middle of the road.’ Boring. Numb. Because I was. That is what I had forced myself to become by closing myself off. And it all comes down to vulnerability.

“Let yourself be seen. Deeply seen. Vulnerably seen. Love with whole heart, even though there are no guarantees. … And believe you are enough.”

To allow ourselves to truly feel our emotions, let go of the negative ones and encourage the positive ones, and open ourselves up to new experiences, we must embrace vulnerability. We have to fight the unconscious, instinctive need to protect ourselves. We have to fight the need to do everything ‘right’.

Brene talks about her moment of breakdown when she realized that she really had never allowed herself to be vulnerable. I think I had a similar one after listening to her talk. Hearing her words was a culmination of many moments and experiences that were telling me let go. How can I really live out a project titled ‘Unleashed’ if I am not willing to be vulnerable?! How can I ever expect to let go and live fully, deeply, *presently* in a constantly shifting world if I cannot embrace that I am not in control? If I cannot take risks? If I cannot be vulnerable?

I encourage you to listen to Brene’s presentation. I hope that it sparks a fire in you like it did in me, and that you are inspired to make another crack in your shell toward becoming truly open to everything life has to offer. I also recommend reading her book, Daring Greatly. I’m not finished with it yet, but am enjoying it so far. I hope it helps you along your journey to living life unleashed.

Project:Unleashed check in — if you are participating, how is it going? Have you made any big discoveries lately? I love receiving your emails, but would love for you to share in the comments as well so everyone can be as touched by your stories as I am. Keep striving <3

 

*This is not a sponsored post, Brene Browne has no idea who I am. I just really want to share this inspiration!

At what point do we loose our kid’s perspective of the world around us ? When do we stop meeting elves, fairies and giants in our imaginary world ? What force catches us and pushes us on a track from which it is so hard to get out ? « The track of reality » they say. The track of a responsible life, with good manners and seriouness. A reality that can be quantified and measured, where the science is the key and the answer, where poetry remains for the fools.

At what point do we open our eyes and do not see what we still could see the day before ? What veils trouble our sight, and make us look around with suspicion, unease and distance ? Why this brother with whom I was playing yesterday became a stranger ? Why can’t I lay my eyes on this sister who’s hand I was holding before ? Why do I look at myself and have so many doubts: Am I too quiet or too noisy? Did I do good ? Did I make the right choice ? And why those people are staring at me ? Is there something wrong with my face ? my accent ? my moves ? my beliefs ? my opinions ? Am I where I should be, on the right spot ? Did I do too much or maybe not enough ??
Why are those questions coming up today when yesterday I was still free ? Why this chain pulls me back in the shade when I only wish to reach the light ahead ? When did I burry my heart in this cold and hard stone ? Why did I imprisoned what I AM in what I SEEM TO BE?
How can I unleash myself and live life at the fullest ?

The project: unleashed ! The intention is great but how do we go from an intellectually understandable concept to its application in real life ?

I didn’t lose a loved one like you did, Erin. I never experienced the terrible distress you described in your different posts. I never had two officers, standing in front of my door, telling me what I would never want to hear. I never experienced those hours of insomnia, this numbness of the heart and soul. I never held in my hand those pictures of someone so much loved and gone forever. I never went through this imposed loneliness, never spend hours in a house suddenly so empty, never tested those salty tears and felt this justified anger. I didn’t experienced any of this at this level, not the fear, not the sorrow, not the bitterness, not the regrets and yet I believe that from this tremendous hardship, you pulled out, through « the project: unleashed », what everyone should be aware of : A life is nothing if not lived. A life is nothing if it becomes a meaningless habit.

We often live in an illusion of invincibility and almighty power. And in our provisory comfort zone, we think : « I am an important man, I do business, I have things, I have meetings, responsabilities, power, money, influence, I go, I come back, I negociate deals, I am someone. »

But at night, when the lights are shut down, when the heavy silence comes back, when there is no more distractions, do we still listen to a voice telling us : « And now ? And now that all the tricks are gone, Who are you ? Who are you really ? »

But in our busy everyday’s life….do we still have the time to think about it ?

So I guess, after all, that being unleashed is just letting us be ourselves deeply and respectfully. But for that we need to learn and accept who we are ?
Socrates would say that we need to « know ourselves » and for that, we need to BE and pull away the masks and disguises we use, to hide our vulnerability, our sensibility, our dreams, our hopes….ourselves.
Because when we let go, then we become an unknown and mysterious land to discover. We become an adventure, we slide over the wild rivers of our hearts, we find forgotten words, we learn a new vocabulary, a new harmony, a different language. We learn to be, to grow, to free ourselves from these chains and we dont see the other as « the other » but like a whole. We don’t live on earth, we are earth, we are the sky, we are the universe. We are the wind blowing in our faces, the water slipping through our hands, the light caressing our faces. The world lives and we live with it, we are part of it. Then we learn to know ourselves, then we perceive the world like the kid that we used to be.
At this point we can free ourselves because we slowly get a touch of who we are and we can try with disciplin to saw the bars so heavy and cold of appearance.

Not so easy my friend but very worthy.

Best to you Erin

PS : I unleashed myself in english so please forgive the mistakes… Going from french to english is not that easy.

Erin

Tristan, this is amazing. You put the whole concept into beautiful words (you do French to English very well!). I especially love one of your last paragraphs, about how we become a ‘mysterious land to discover’. Finding the way to translate this whole concept into actual actions is the key to this whole project:unleashed. Perhaps this should be the focus of our project?? I’ll email you!

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