Wholehearted:  Complete sincerity and commitment

Ted Talks are intriguing to me.  These 20 minute online videos have some of the most incredible, thoughtful people from around the world just sharing ideas.   I’ve heard some good ones over the past few years and recently came upon Brene Brown’s talk: The Power of Vulnerability.

In essence, Brene’s theory suggests that people who are wholehearted are so because they are authentically vulnerable.

Hmm.  Interesting.  I had never considered vulnerability a positive attribute.  In fact, to me that word always reeked of weakness.  And yet, after Lisa died, there I was – naked to the world, exposed.  It is difficult to hide behind a mask when your young wife is dead, and you’re weeping at dinner parties.  I had been caught.  I could not hide or pretend that nothing was wrong.  Clearly something was.  I could either admit it or fake it.  The only problem was that in my case, if I tried to pretend, all would know I was living a lie; especially my kids.

Brene says that in order to connect, you have to be seen – really seen.  How many people are willing to open up their curtain?  To let others in?

We drive around in nice cars to give the air of financial security.  We dress the right way.  We join the right clubs.  We post our happiest photos on Facebook and then fall apart when the flash is off.  We walk in the party with our spouse on our arm fully knowing our marriage is falling apart.  And we aren’t even willing to be open with those we most closely care about.

Sometimes I’m criticized for sharing too much.  That’s fair, especially when it comes to bathroom etiquette.  Yet, I’m fairly certain that my healing has come from my inability to squash my pain.  I saw a counselor for four years.  Friends, loved ones, my kids and strangers have had to listen to my struggles.  Their willingness to do so has been medicinal – their acceptance of me, their willingness to love me despite all of the anger and sadness and ugliness within, has given me an ability to fully be honest with myself.

I see my children, to a great extent, opening up to the world. Having compassion for others who are very different from them.  Supporting those around them in need.  Hurting for those going through hard times, and, perhaps most importantly, being comfortable with who they are.  Beautiful, smart young women who don’t have a mom.

Their vulnerability is giving them the courage to be and accept who they are.  As Brene puts it, they feel that they are worthy of love and belonging just as they are.

This was not a trait I had intended on teaching my daughters.  I wasn’t always that happy with who I was.  It’s all about perspective.  I’m not sure that Danny Tanner has really changed that much from the 1978, 13-year-old, Hillcrest Middle Schooler.  What has changed is my perspective, realization and acceptance of who I am.

Thankfully my girls are learning these lessons much earlier in life.

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  1. Mel Ham

     /  November 2, 2016

    excellent point. I identify with this. I decided this go round with the ham romance that I would enter in an unguarded fashion. Kinda like last call at the roulette table of love. Being guarded, never got me any where, and never made pain any less that I would imagine all in would be. So I did it. I became vulnerable, transparent, for all of Chad to see. I haven’t regretted it. I will never forget talking to Mae one holiday…saying I am still the girl..the pleasing girl that wears a scarlet letter of damage. She looked at me squarely as only Mae can do with her southern “sugarbaker” drawl, “Honey, we are all damaged.” I must have done something good. I love being a Ham….a vulnerable ham.

  2. Frances Maffitt

     /  November 2, 2016

    This is perhaps the strongest, most beautifully composed post thus far …….thank you!

  3. Mom

     /  November 2, 2016

    You have done much good just being “our Mel”. You have brought joy and laughter and lots of love to our family. We are all so glad that you joined our clan. You are one of our special treasures.

  4. Kim Rebecca Hasty

     /  November 2, 2016

    This was an eloquent and heartfelt post. Thank you so much for sharing. It was just what I needed to see today.

  5. It seems today is a day of vulnerability..

    This morning I read this quote from Meg Worden:

    “It’s a funny thing about us as humans that tenderness, the humor, and the humanness, is the first thing we want to see in others and the last thing we want to show them in ourselves.”

  6. Deana

     /  November 3, 2016

    Someone told me once, “If someone cannot love you when you are broken — chipped paint and cracked windows — then they do not deserve to love you when you are not.

    When I felt weakest, I also felt the most free because I could look around and know for sure who was standing with me — who was picking up a paintbrush and roll of duct tape. And I let them help heal me.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  November 8, 2016

      It is interesting to see who really stands by you. Tons of love and tons of folks with good intentions, but there were a few…

  7. I love Brene’s talks, refreshingly open and inspirational. Also very much like reading your posts.


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