Beautiful Vulnerability

You guys know how I love blogs, books, music, movies, and all sorts of motivational content - especially podcasts, and especially motivational personal development podcasts. One of my favorites is the Your Kickass Life podcast, which I've been listening through for ages now. Sometimes I go through bursts, where it seems like I've heard so many episodes all at once that I'll never forget the sound of Andrea Owen's cheerful voice and totally realistic way of putting herself out there for her listeners Other times, I'll take a break to process whatever I've learned, or I'll hear something so profound that I just have to turn it off and let it sink in.

Oftentimes, I'll write down my favorite quotes for later inspiration, affirmation, or material from which to grow my own content - and here's one of my current favorites:

"A lot of times, I believe that we view vulnerability as black or white ... either we get completely naked on the first date, or we don't date at all." -- Andrea Owen

I've talked about something very close to this idea before - certainly not in those words, but in similar ways. I've mentioned it in friendships, in relationships. And yes, I've talked about it several times here, in various posts exploring how much I hate it when people see the things I've lived through and survived, or the challenges I'm still facing every day, and they label me "fearless."

I am not fearless. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which means my life is an exercise in being at high alert at all times. When I walk through parking lots, I'm examining the people and the cars around me. When I walk down a hallway, I'm watching behind me almost as carefully as I watch in front of me. I don't sit with my back to doors or windows for the most part. I'm on such high alert all the time that I hardly even have a scare reflex anymore - my family has made a game over the years of trying to sneak up on me, because it's a huge accomplishment for them if I don't feel them coming. Hypervigilance is my life, a constant state of being on guard, being watchful - being anxious.

I am not fearless.

I think sometimes people just see me that way because I keep going as much as possible - even my guts are burning with fear, when my muscles are weak and tired from trembling, when my heart is racing and my head is aching. I'm still trying to move forward, even if it's just baby steps, even when it's just a little at a time. I accept defeat sometimes, and I have accepted the disability rendered by my stack of chronic health issues - I've even accepted outright failure more times than I care to count. But none of those things means the same as "giving up."

I'm not fearless. Courageous, maybe, but really only in the sense that I am willing to be vulnerable. I'm willing to say I've been weak, that I've been fooled, that I've been homeless, that I've been sick, that I've lost, that I've been rejected, that I've been battered and bruised, attacked and embattled.

Because without me - and others like me - being willing to stand up and say, "Yes, I've been there, I've endured that, and I survived," then how can we expect it to mean anything when we say, "You'll be alright, you're strong, don't let this get you down."

Even then, accepting vulnerability in others isn't nearly as difficult as accepting - or even learning to take pride in - the vulnerability in ourselves.

It's not easy to admit weakness, to admit hurt, to admit struggle. It's hard. It's embarrassing. It's painful. But in a lot of ways, it's also healing ... when it's in balance.

Check back in a couple of days to see how I keep my vulnerability at just the right balance for me - and some of the ways you can learn to get yours in balance, too.

If you liked this post? Drop a comment below - I'd love your feedback, as well as the chance to interact with you! It would also be great if you could share the link to this post with your friends - it helps me connect with new readers and bring new exposure to the Undaunted Army and what we hope to accomplish! Be sure you check out my quarterly giveaway page, too - there are several free and easy ways to enter - and members of the Undaunted Army are always eligible for extra entries!

Speaking of the Army, I'd like to personally invite you to take your place among those who have bravely fought and survived the battles of life. Addiction, abuse, violence, divorce, parenting, illness, and other traumas are real battles too; those who suit up to fight every day have a right and an obligation to nurture their own health, well-being, and self-empowerment. I know how hard it can be to keep going - but there is strength in numbers, and as a member of the Undaunted Army, you have the hope of knowing that you will never have to fight your battles alone again. Enlist as an Undaunted Army Private for free, or invest in the growing impact of the Army with an Undaunted Army Officer Commission for as little as $1 a month. And now, you can wear your Undaunted Pride right out in the open by sporting Undaunted Army merch!

However we stay connected, always know that my brand and the Undaunted Army are built on what I write and who I'm writing it for. "Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman" isn't just a slogan or a tagline - it's a purpose and a goal, which is why, whether you're a first time reader or a long-time loyal follower ... from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for being here.