Hard to be soft; tough to be tender

And it turns out I am very good at something really hard. Something I have always done with such ease that it never occurred to me that it might be difficult for others*. I like to say I am only good at five things. It is an oversimplification, of course, but really… I’m not well-rounded. The range of things at which I am mediocre to terrible is considerable and multitude. And, I’m not ashamed of this. In fact I am quite comfortable with it. I am perfectly content to have a handful of gifts to offer, luminous with great practice and profound commitment. 

I am good at being vulnerable. 

I do not mean this to imply that I am not also strong, because I am. In fact, I believe that my profound and innate tendency toward vulnerability has made me a stronger person by far, than I would be without it.

Some time ago a good friend of mine encouraged me to watch the excellent TED talk by Brene Brown on the subject (which I also encourage anyone I ever meet to do)

The Power of Vulnerability

After watching this talk, I realized that I had not previously seen my vulnerability as an asset; something that required courage and practice. Instead I had viewed it as something to be overcome and bargained away with clean living and proper good sense. I now understand that while I was skeptical of the value of such an open and tender nature, that having one contributes directly to something I am deeply proud of; I am good at fostering intimacy and trust. 

People confide in me. They always have. The number of times I have heard someone say:

“Wow. I have never told anyone that before. You are just so easy to talk to.”

is uncountable, but a key data point in the chart of my internal universe. It is important to me that I am someone people can reveal themselves to. I have deep respect for introspection that leads to the capacity to share oneself in such entirety. And I enact this type of candor and emotional honesty, not in any calculated fashion, but as the only way I can possibly imagine existing in the world. 


*Sort of like when I found out that not everyone can see in the dark.