Tag: live your story

The Discomfort of Vulnerability

A colleague of mine recently asked me for some help.  He was wondering how best to handle a difficult situation at work.  As he reached out, he half-apologized, wondering whether he might be unfairly imposing on my time.  It didn’t feel like it was an imposition at all, quite the opposite.  He’s such a good guy and so respectful that it’s always a pleasure to share my opinion with him and offer my advice.  As he asked, I noticed something: his reaching out made me feel good even before we conversed about his work.  I wondered why that was the case.  After thinking about it, I figured it out.  He was showing me his vulnerability.

Quote by Brene Brown: Vulnerability is not weakness: It's our greatest measure of courage

Leaning into discomfort

His words didn’t make me think something; his words made me feel something.  This expression of human vulnerability allowed for a connection between us, a moment of closeness.  I know that it likely wasn’t so easy for him to ask but here’s the thing: it’s always uncomfortable to show our truest vulnerable selves.  We have a saying in psychiatry that we grow only when we lean into discomfort.  I believe this is true.  By definition, growth is a journey where we enter an unknown world, whether we are stumbling to learn a new language or falling off our bike as a kid.  Leaning into the discomfort of showing another our tender core is as challenging as it is rewarding.  

Embracing discomfort

Ironically, it is only through embracing this discomfort that we can find comfort.  We can’t have it both ways.  We either live behind thick walls, protecting ourselves, feeling alone, or we open up to the joy and pain in life by feeling uneasily vulnerable.  When we say “I love you” first, when we stand at an AA meeting and say “I am an alcoholic” or when we say “I need your help”, we are extending our hands and opening our hearts.  We humans are hard-wired to connect and being openly vulnerable is the only pathway to true intimacy and well being.

I’m going to do my very best to help my colleague.  I’m quite sure he is unaware that he has moved me.  I respect him for doing so.  And perhaps in return, I will navigate through my own vulnerability, open myself up and let him know how grateful I am for this gift that he has bestowed upon me.  

Mental Health authenticity in 3 words

Mental Health authenticity

When I was little, I was sure there were monsters under the bed when I was falling asleep each night. Now all grown up, I‘ve wondered about what we see in the dark. What lens do we look through as we try to define our true sense of self? We believe that our real identity is seen when we are being authentic. Newsflash: nope. Authenticity isn’t about being, it’s about doing.  Authenticity is an active choice, not a passive state.  We aren’t authentic because we feel we are an honest person.  We’re authentic because we do honest acts.  

Picture of typewriter typing Stories Matter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Authenticity is about authoring our own story. It’s a wonderful thing to be authentic because we are always, at every moment, just one spoken word and one action away from our truest self. It is hope-filled and empowering to know that we’re in charge of our affirmations and aspirations each day. Being genuinely authentic is the vehicle that carries us toward our dreams. It defines our identity and records our humanity.

Authorship isn’t about joining a book club.  Inscribing in our book is a solo endeavor. It is our pen, it is our page and it is our obligation to set down our life’s plan and then to act.  Even those who love us may mean well but they view the world (and us) through their lens.

So when it’s dark, we can see monsters under our bed.  But in the dark of night, we can see the stars illuminate the sky.  When it’s bright outside, we can shield our eyes from the harshness of the light.  But in the light of day, we can see our loved one’s smile. Consider this: pick up your pen and become the author of your best self.  Mental health authenticity in three words: Live your story. If you do, in the darkness you’ll gaze at the stars and in the light, you’ll see a loved one’s smile.

But…what does authenticity mean to you?