Sep 13, 2011

I know I've posted this before, but this is worth watching. About 1 millions times.
http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

I was raised with the backassed notion that strength, independence, and the quest perfection would make me the sort of person worthy of love.
I don't know where I got this idea, but I am sure somewhere between lessons on the frontier and education on capitalism it's easy to imagine where the notion of the self made man comes into a headlong collision with instinctual notions around intimacy.
And it makes sense that the media (we can always blame the media, right) and a zillion beauty pageants and sports competitions, and society and politics and a general sense of man against nature reinforced the notion that if I let someone know I was tired, or weak, or sad, or if let them know something was hard, or that I was dressing to hide those extra 5 lbs they would love me just a little less, that their disappointment would diminish their affections.

At any rate, I am here to tell you it is a lie. Or rather, that strength, independence and growth might exist in direct conflict with the quest for perfection. You will never be done, you will never be perfect, you will never polish this vessel to that kind of shine. And people looking for that kind of mirror finish are often seeking their own reflection, so let it go. You don't need such narcissism in those you hold close.

And I am here to quote the best fortune cookie I ever got "you think it is a secret but it never has been. Which is to say, people already know you are not perfect. They know you have faults and down moments and a brain farts and cellulite. They were born knowing it. And they don't care.

And as much as I'd like to say that love, intimacy and friendship blooms over shared strengths, talents and beauties, I suspect true bonds are created when we witness the depths of those we love, the chinks in the armor, the truth of their existence found in the all pox and inconsistencies and secrets and formers lies.

Which isn't to say you need to be miserable to be loved. I do not believe that in the slightest. I am not the kind of angstful creature that would claim that in some deep dark room there are a bunch of emo wonders experiencing the greatest love of all.

And it isn't to say that others don't appreciate your achievements, I am sure they do. I am sure they are amazed. But I mean to suggest something far more simple: that an epic lists of faults, that a history of success and failure, that beautiful eyes and a soft underbelly might have more to do with actual happiness than a laundry list of achievements. That the constant quest to explore, change and grow with the acceptance of our sadness and faults can exist in tandem with joy. And possibly joy can not exist without it.

But I also think there is more to it than simply embracing one's faults and addressing them in the quest for inner peace. That is not simply about inner honesty. It is about sharing. It is about allowing others to love you, to be there for you, to know when you are having the most ridiculous insecurity, the most unnerving emotions.
Which is to say: open your damn mouth. Let a tear shed. And as reasonably often as a listening ear will allow. Because as much as friends, family and lovers love it when you are happy, and want to share the good times, they also want to be there for you. They want to let you know they love you, not in spite of your issues, but because of your issues. They want to let you know they care for YOU Not just the portion you deem fit for public consumption.
But they are not mind readers, and so you need to forgive this minor imperfection and make it easy for them to know when you truly need a helping hand.
Which brings me to the other upside, of being vulnerable around your friends, of being confident enough to know people won't run when you show them that fault: they will know they can do the same with you. They will grow to trust you. They will understand that they too have the kind of loving support that allows them to try, and fail, that allows them to break down, and move on.

If you were happy all the time you'd be a gameshow host. If you were perfect all the time you'd be a super hero. Both stand alone and people are always happy to see them come and...leave. So they can get back to their lives with the people they love and trust.

2 comments:

Mischief Maker said...

Yes! Another wonderful and true post.

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