The courage to be vulnerable
Writing this newsletter is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Something I’ve procrastinated my way out of for quite some time. Usually by working.
It takes courage to go for something you love. Something you might be disappointed about. Something that shows some of what’s hiding inside you. What if it’s rejected?
Courage is an elastic term. One we stretch to cover various brands of boldness, of defiance, of unapologetic vulnerability. In “The Gifts of Imperfection” Brene Brown talks about the original description of courage, one I wholeheartedly identify with,
“The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart’.”
My favourite acts of courage are exactly these little instances of vulnerability. Like the email I received this morning from a dear friend speaking about his expertise at hiding feelings, written in the most beautiful, heartfelt manner. Or speaking out about a need when you know someone will most likely be annoyed or hurt. That little moment of hesitation when two introverts are saying goodbye, until one goes for the hug that both long for. First kisses. Moments when compelling feelings win over fear. Declarations of love (not necessarily romantic) where your intense fear of ridicule starts the second the words leave your mouth. Or in my case, my pen or keyboard. I’m an expert at those.
Around a year and a half ago I wrote a bucket list. To my surprise, the thing I felt most strongly about was my first entry – Writing 1000 love letters. My first was to a friend, many years ago. She was passing though a rough patch and I felt an intense need to tell her how very special she is, how much I appreciated her. The response was so heart-warming that it still affects me today. The idea that I had somehow helped spread love, that I had assisted another human being to feel seen, appreciated, was truly precious. One that has remained with me ever since.
I’ve probably written about 60 love letters so far, I try to keep a copy and a tally but I frequently forget to. I’m often a little too excited about actually giving them out. The space between sending a letter and receiving some kind of response is nerve wrecking. Have they read it? Do they hate it? Do they now think I’m weird? Sometimes there is no acknowledgement, I’m learning to deal with that; it’s an important part of the process. Many times though, the response is nothing short of incredible. The act of noticing the little things, of witnessing the softer parts, of seeing people, of sharing gratitude for how others have affected us; there is something immensely powerful in these simple acts. Why do we not do this more often? Why do we have such fear of sharing what goes on in our hearts? Why do we judge so severely? What would happen if we dared display actual snapshots of our hearts?
This email series is somewhat of a snapshot of mine. Of sorts. A place where I get to share enthusiasm for my favourite humans. A place where I can gather thoughts and collect artefacts around a theme. A place to play with words and meaning. I hope you find this worthwhile.
Thoughts, additional resources, feedback, hellos are greatly appreciated. Contact me here.
With pots and lots of love,