I’m going to get non-fibery serious for a moment here.

Vulnerability, pretty much by definition, is a scary place. It means you’re open to getting hurt, to letting people see the parts of you that your instincts tell you to protect and hide.

Those instincts tell you to put on the happy face, tell no one about your losses and fears and screwups and hurts, lest you get even more damaged. It’s a smart move as far as protecting oneself goes… except for one key thing.

We don’t improve and move forward if we take no chances. We don’t gain without risk.

Sometimes, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is just what we need in order to grow.

“…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” ― Audre Lorde

San Francisco Pillow Fight 2007
Photo courtesy of Scott Beale / Laughing Squid – http://www.laughingsquid.com

I practice being vulnerable all the time. I have very few secrets, because I decided that if I gave away the things that scare me and hurt me, they lose power over me. I can share my fears and find that others in my community are sometimes strengthened to know that they’re not alone in those fears, too.

On this blog, I’ve talked about how the freedoms of being self-employed are shadowed by the fears of failure. I asked for Sponsorship help for more education via Camp Pluckyfluff, which was SUPER scary for me. I even admit when I’m too poor to buy fancy tags for my products – because there is NO SHAME in this, y’all, even though we often feel pushed into having all the fancy trappings of a “real” business… which is just someone’s idea of what “real” business looks like.

This stuff? If you have a small biz, you probably have went through most if not all of these scenarios. I do this in my personal life, too. I often confess things on my personal Facebook page about how I feel inadequate or scared or frustrated or just plain overwhelmed. [I do balance this with a lot of upbeat stuff! Balance is important!]

You know what happens? My friends, my community – they always rally to my side. They step up and say “yes, I feel this way too” or “I did this to get through it” or just “I am on your side.” That’s what community does.

I could sit here and hold in those feelings. I could pretend like I’m uber-successful and carefree and tra la la looooo… but eventually the stuff that’s bothering me will HAVE to come out, y’all. It will fester inside. There’s no point in holding it down inside, because those who care about you will sniff it out anyway, and true friends will want to help. And you’ll feel soooo much better if you let it out.

Being vulnerable helped me get over horrible things that have happened in my life. If I’d never let a few people into the places where pain lives, I’d still be walking around with that hurt in my heart.

I’m not saying that you should throw open the doors to your soul to just anyone. But sometimes, opening up about what is bothering you can really bring results. Start small, move cautiously, choose your audience well – but try not to be afraid, okay? You might be surprised what will come to you. <3