From Machiavelli to some of the biggest influencers in our culture, there is a movement that praises stoicism over authenticity. How many days do you feel like you’re “winning”? Do you ever feel like throwing the day away, eating ice cream on the couch and watching Netflix? While there is such a thing as balance, I believe that we ought to let our guard down and be real far more than we should “fake it til we make it”. We are more relatable in our failures than we are in our successes. Everyone loves an “overnight” success story, but they don’t see the years of failure and defeat that lead up to that moment. Vulnerability does not equal weakness; it equals freedom.
While I will acknowledge a degree of discernment here, I don’t think we need to overthink this. Here are 3 ways to become more vulnerable and their correlating applications to personal freedom.
- Keep a Journal – Keeping a journal will showcase the ups and downs of life, thus keeping you centered and not grasping for romanticized expectations. Write down the things that went right AND the things that went wrong. This doesn’t have to be on paper, but it can be. Freedom comes in when you allow yourself to fail, because you will. Gaining a track record of failure will ultimately free you up to stop viewing things in the myopic categories of “Wins and Losses” but rather as a collective body of lessons learned.
- Confess to a Confidant – Find someone who has influence in your life and let the know the ways that you want to improve your life. The hard part is that you are also going to have to confess the ways that you are screwing up. Ask questions like, “What are the things that don’t add value to my life or the lives of others? Who have I marginalized? What obsession is distracting me from personal growth? How do I define myself?” Freedom comes in when you confess your shortcomings. Guess what? If your confidant is a human being, they have them too and will be able to help you grow. Iron sharpens iron.
- Tell the Truth – This is by FAR the hardest way to become more vulnerable. Do you want to find out who really supports you? Tell the truth all the time, and you’ll find out. This has been the bane of my existence since I was little child because I’m a damn good story teller. You can tell the truth and still be yourself if you fall into this category. Start grasping the realization that you make yourself MORE vulnerable, in a negative way, when you try to maintain popularity with absolutely everyone. Freedom comes in when you allow yourself to not hold back or color your truth. Trust me, when you start telling the truth, it will feel as though 5 million pounds of weight will drop off your back. It’s liberating.
Easy as pie, right? Not at all. Making yourself vulnerable is going against the grain and you may lose relationships because of it. Mark 8:36, one of my favorite scripture references sums it up this idea perfectly, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” In other words, you can have it ALL, and STILL lose yourself in the process. What good is that? It’s good to work on our weaknesses, because we all have them. The trouble begins when we think we don’t have any. I’m going to practice what I preach and list my weaknesses below along with how I am addressing them.
- Procrastination – I’m working on this by holding myself to writing something valuable every single day. Keeping that chain of action has bled over into other areas.
- Addiction – A thirst for harmful addictions is being redirected into healthy ones, i.e. writing, speaking and helping others.
- Anger – This is my most difficult one. Trying to get out of myself and into the lives of others is helping me day by day. Still working
There it is. Out there for the world to see…and I’m still here. Don’t leave me hanging: what are your weaknesses and how are you working on them?
There’s more to come, I’m not done yet…