What's love got to do with it?
Love has everything to do with everything!
We were hard wired for love and belonging. Love is what we were made for, and love is who we are, our true love identity. We may have lost sight of it for a time. We may have stumbled on jagged turns and aching highways, but we will always find our way back to love, because we were made by love, for love and through love. We are love carriers; so we can’t deny ourselves the love that sustains us.
The problem is our own internal filter and pollution has affected our original design. Junk has clogged our pipes and things don’t always flow, as they should. And because of this we often struggle and seek to hide the rawness of our vulnerability that is actually core to returning and connecting to love and belonging.
We each were raised to believe powerful cultural myths about vulnerability. The biggest is that vulnerability is synonymous with weakness and to avoid the idea of weakness we avoid vulnerability at all cost. Many of us have learned coping and survival tools that help us soldier on, but not the courage to be vulnerable and show up beautifully imperfect. The problem is that most of us aren’t even away of our default behaviors.
In fact, you might be thinking “vulnerability looks good on you, but not on me, because I don’t do vulnerability!” Guess what, there is no way to avoid vulnerability! To be alive is to be vulnerable. Sorry but, whether we like it or not life is full of vulnerability and risk. The truth is most every day we wake up to a real sense of vulnerability.Just thinking about the reality of raw vulnerability can make me want to armor up and hold on for dear life. It’s uncomfortable and risky navigating the vulnerable territory of whatever arena we are in, be it parenting, relationships, the work environment or taking on a new project requiring presenting oneself publicly. It’s all risky and laden with vulnerability.
Most people choose to armor up with coping mechanisms that cover over real authenticity and vulnerability. Who wants to be exposed and shamed publically? The truth is that no matter how we show up we risk the reality of being exposed, but when we disconnect and hide beneath our numbing and coping defenses, we loose the ability to truly be seen and we forfeit the sense of love and connection we desire. We think numbing and hiding defenses shield us from the pain and discomfort of exposure, but in truth they shield us from love too.
We can’t have it both ways, to experience love and connection we must courageously practice vulnerability and authenticity.
When we choose to live whole-heartedly by courageously showing up imperfectly as we are, we can learn to speak about our vulnerabilities, and we can dare greatly. We can learn to build a kind of shame resilience that helps us stay connected to love and belonging.
That’s been my journey. Having grown up like most of us without tools for navigating the jagged edges of this shame riddled world, I’ve done and am doing the hard work of greater shame resilience and wholeness. But if someone asked me years ago if I struggled with shame, I would truly have thought I did not. Now I understand that shame is universal and we all experience it.
After being thrown into the arena of widowhood and having no idea how to navigate that kind of raw vulnerability, I armored up in my attempt to hide my exposure. I used built in strategies I didn’t know I had that let me disconnect from the affects of shame and helped me stay small and hidden.
And it’s taken me years to unpack the shame and scarcity that immobilized me through various cultural rough spots. Shame is secretive and shame is a silencer and there are cultures that greatly honor and uphold silence and secrecy. If you are in such a culture understand that it’s laced with shame.
It takes great courage to choose vulnerability and the authenticity of unpacking shame, to learn to speak shame and identify the elephant of scarcity, “not enough”, comparison and judgment, in the room, and to practice the courageous antidote of self-compassion and empathy that disengages the affects of shames.
The beautiful, hopeful news is that as we can learn to show up and be seen. We can reconnect to love, clean out the clutter, and get back to the whole-hearted living we were made for.
If you believe love has everything to do with everything and if a whole-hearted life is what you desire, I invite you to join us for The Daring Way™ Weekend Intensive in May, based on the work of Brené Brown. As a certified Daring Way™ facilitator CDWF-Candidate and professional life coach, along with my co-facilitator and life coach Nicole Greer, we will be lead on a powerful journey of love and belonging.
More information coming! To inquire and express interest in attending or hosting an event for your group, church, or workplace please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org