I’ve spent the morning watching Ted Talks. For those of you who don’t know–it is an amazing website with people who give inspirational and innovative talks about their research or ideas (worth spreading).
My favorite is this lady named Brene Brown. She has two videos posted: one about vulnerability (video), and another about shame (video). I don’t think I have ever had a time in my life where I have been more vulnerable or shamed. The events of the past eight months or so have been hard–and even harder to admit to others. Because in admiting that I have failed, I am admiting that I am putting myself in a vulnerable position. Thanks to Brene Brown, I no longer feel shamed by that.
Today, I am embracing those events.
In Mom’s Love and Logic classes, she tells parents how they have to let their children fail. Because the “road to wisdom is paved in failures…” Brene Brown says in her first video, that as parents–our (your) job isn’t to create a perfect human being who “makes it to Yale by seventh grade.” She said in that moment of holding a precious baby, we should say, “You are imperfect, and you are wired for struggle–but you are worthy of love and belonging.” It’s one in the same, right?
I have failed. That is for sure, but I’ve always wanted to be the best. The struggles that I face now internally, are because I don’t want to be a failure. But what makes us a success? College? Relationships? Good jobs? I’ve had my moments of failure in all of those things.
I quit my job. Best decision I ever made. And goodness, did I feel like a failure! Even now, when I hear of my peers or friends who have jobs that sound great–I feel a twinge of regret. I am okay with that too, by the way. Because according to another Ted Talker, that means I am not a sociopath.
My relationships don’t always work out. I’m learning to embrace that vulnerabilty of being in another relationship. It’s okay if they haven’t worked yet–I deserve love and belonging.
My ten year high school reunion is this year, and I have no desire to go. My reasons for not wanting to attend aren’t because of my failures, however. I realize that many of my peers are married, have children, master degrees, and so on. My choices haven’t led me down that path. That doesn’t make me a failure, but we have a hard time with people who take a different course in life. We like that sense of belonging that we get when our lives fit a mold.
I don’t fit any molds.
Brene Brown says, “If we are going to find our way back to each other, we need empathy. If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgement. If you douse it with empathy it can’t survive. If we are going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path.”
Writing this blog has helped me grow this year. Sharing it was a little harder, as that made me vulnerable. For the first time (probably in my life), I have put my failures out there for others to see. No more secrecy and silence. I know that the responses to what I write about will either be with judgement or empathy. I’m grateful for the empathy. It has helped me to not be ashamed of my very imperfect life.