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.