No one wants vulnerability but we all want clarity. Can we gain clarity without being vulnerable? Clarity, vulnerability, and daring greatly all go together, as seen in the work of Brené Brown in her book, Daring Greatly.
The Connection between Vulnerability and Clarity
While the research discussed in Daring Greatly is compiled from interviews on shame and vulnerability, you don’t have to read very far into the book before Brown makes a connection between vulnerability and clarity.
“Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, page 2
From that one sentence we can learn a lot about clarity. Let’s first look at “the clarity of our purpose.” This means a clearness of what we are meant to accomplish and live in this life. Isn’t that what we all mean when we say we need clarity?
I know what it’s like to feel a lack of purpose due to a lack of clarity. You can read more about that here.
Brown states that the clearness of our purpose is affected by our willingness to “engage with our vulnerability.”
Uh-oh. This means that if we lack clarity perhaps we are avoiding vulnerability.
Vulnerability and Being Who We Are
If we are struggling to find clarity in a situation, perhaps it is a cue to spend some time targeting those areas where we are most afraid to be vulnerable.
For example, if we are struggling to stand out in crowd and be ourselves, or to engage with people on a real level, we need to consider how our lack of vulnerability might be affecting us.
“When we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be.”
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly, page 45
Ouch. That one hurt.
Yet, think about it. If our energy is spent worrying about avoiding all that will bring shame and vulnerability, we have blocked ourselves. How have we blocked ourselves? We have blocked the energy that could bring us great inspiration or confidence in who we are.
If we are so weighed down with the weight of hiding from others, we are also blocking ourselves from expressing who we are.
I’m in This with You
It’s still soon after reading this book and I admit that I have a lot of processing, reflecting, and change ahead of me.
It took me 3 different tries to read the book past the chapter on shame. The chapter on shame is an eye opening chapter. It was challenging. It was hard. I needed to read it. Unpacking all that I learned in that single chapter, much less the whole book, will take time. Therefore, I don’t have a personal growth story to share like I typically do.
Although, there is one story that might illustrate that I’m in this with you.
I wrote and preached sermons in graduate school. In my experience of sermon writing I learned an important lesson: finding a great message to preach often meant finding and sharing a message that I truly needed to work on myself, as much as I felt called to preach it to others. This article feels the same way.
I too struggle with having the courage to dare to gain clarity through vulnerability. Reading Daring Greatly was my first step.
If you hope to gain the courage to be you, read Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. It’s worth it.
Behavior Challenge: Pick one area where you most fear vulnerability and try to act even when feeling vulnerable.
Maybe it’s leaving a comment…
While being vulnerable is difficult, it’s easier when you have a friend who will hang in there with you in the midst of the struggle. Sharing with someone your struggle opens us to the possibility of change, and being willing to change is what risk is all about. Being “safe” is often not the most challenging road to walk down. But walking in faith hand in hand with people who love and encourage you makes all the difference.