I had the greatest chat with one of my oldest and dearest friends the other day. He and I hit it off the moment we met. He has always been a guy I could trust, and know that he was there for me, no matter where he was in the world. After reading one of my blogs, he threatened to beat up the guy who had been mean to me, just to be safe I didn’t tell him where UPS lived. When we first met in University, I was enamored with his wit, his charming personality and his confidence. Not sure why he hung out with me…maybe it was the boobs…he does like boobs a lot. It was many moons ago when we were young and dumb, but I knew that I could trust him. There is a story in here of awkwardness, and slightly broken hearts and damaged egos, but it was so long ago, it is not worth telling – but it was the moment I knew we would be friends for a long long time.
Years ago, whilst having one of our epic long skype calls (I am talking 3-4 hours here people, these talks are not for the faint of heart). We were in deep discussion of some matters of the heart, he mentioned, that he felt like he didn’t really know me, and I was shocked. How could someone I consider one of my best friends in the world say that he felt like he didn’t know me? We have known each other for at that time for over 10 years…how could he not know me?
Years ago he had explained, that we talk, and we joke, but we never really discussed things on a seriously personal level. And I had to admit to myself that I was not a vulnerable person…I still am not. This was brought up again in our latest conversation, where my friend said he knows why I prefer text to skype, because I can edit myself. He isn’t wrong – he does know me quite well. I do edit myself, a lot (this post will take 4-10 days just of editing). I asked him how I could learn to be more vulnerable, and within his infinite wisdom he indicated that I needed to smoke more weed (which he knows I don’t do, but he is hopeful that one day I will), and relax – he said “Jane – vulnerability isn’t something that you learn, you need to open up more and stretch the boundaries of your courage. All anyone really wants in this world is some fucking passion – especially in a beige world”. And I get what he was saying – I mean you get why I love to talk with him – he swears and he is profanely insightful, and he is brutally honest. What girl doesn’t need that in her life?
This conversation led me to Google as many things do, there is just such infinite information on that interweb. I can’t help myself. But if you look up vulnerability, you may find some interesting things, but nothing that will actually teach you to be vulnerable. My friend was right, this is not something you can learn. It is not really something that a lot of people actually “get”. So I don’t feel so silly. One of the best things I found was Brené Brown’s Ted Talk (found here: https://www.ted.com/talk/brene_brown_on_vulnerability#t-189544 and the follow-up talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame?language=en). She talks about the ability to be vulnerable, and the thing I like the best, is that she is a bit of a hard ass like me. She doesn’t want to dredge up family issues or old baggage, but just to be able to be in the now and to be vulnerable. I would spend years in therapy about my family shit, but what I want is to open up now. She talks about those people who are able to be vulnerable and they all have the following qualities:
- Courage to be imperfect
- Compassion to be kind to themselves first
- Connection as a result of authenticity
- Fully embrace vulnerability