As a mom, there are any given number of things that I can fail at on a daily basis. Dinner, for instance. With a family of five, I will most likely choose at least one meal a week that someone would rather not eat. Or picking out the right pair of pants for my 3-year-old; this usually occurs within the first hour of the day, primarily because she detests pants and wants to wear dresses all of the time. Not long sleeve dresses, but strappy sundresses made for beaches, and certainly not for outdoor classroom days in Vermont in mid-November. But one of the things I fail consistently at is…
I’m a yeller.
I yell. Alot.
To admit this exposes a part of me that I would like to keep buried from scrutiny. It’s not an easy thing to admit, that my reaction to stressful or trying situations is frustration, that I can’t talk myself out of the zero to sixty escalation from calm and rational to not.
I certainly don’t think that yelling is a strength of mine; no, quite the opposite – there is more strength in remaining calm and composed. But there is strength in my sharing this with you.
I think there is a widely accepted myth about strength – that it comes from a place of security, of confidence, of always doing things the “right” or “accepted” way, of perfection. However, I think strength comes from acknowledging our faults, our flaws, and our quirks, in accepting ourselves as is.
I didn’t connect with the thoughts I share in this space from a place of strength. In taking a look at the areas where I wanted to grow personally, these musings certainly weren’t hiding in areas I excel in. I had to examine my faults; to figure out where I was weakest. Sometimes, I need someone else to be that mirror for me. I think, while it can be easy to find faults in ourselves, it’s not always so easy to own up to the ones whose roots grow a bit deeper.
I’m not saying that I am blind to certain faults or weaknesses; rather, like yelling, they are layered behind excuses and justifications that I have built.
There is incredible strength in being vulnerable, in sharing that exposure and I think that’s because people resonate with what is real, and what is honest. The strength comes in pushing past the doubt, in accepting that there might be rejection, in accepting that the parts about us that we hide, those pieces that are not shiny and pretty and polished, are worth putting out there as well, in being open. There are bonds forged with those you can share your weaknesses with, and even more so when you can count on others to hold you accountable for using those weaknesses and turning them into challenges you have overcome.
Vulnerability can take on many faces; exposing your thoughts, showcasing your talent, displaying your skills. Learning something new, being a beginner. Traveling solo. Making a career change. Talking about the struggles, about mistakes and about failures.
Find a way to be vulnerable; find a space you can be vulnerable in, people you can be vulnerable with. Vulnerability begets value, and we can all use a little more of that.