Hearing that word makes you feel incredibly uncomfortable, or is that just me? My heart stops, I want to curl up in a ball and I begin to feel sick!
Am I good enough? Am I loved? Do I belong? Are you scared to love? I am I failure. I am weak. What will that person think of me? People will laugh at me. I don’t fit in. I am to fat. I am to skinny. I don’t dress well. I have been hurt to many times. I’m scared to trust. I have been through a lot and struggle to deal with the effects.
I’m sure we’ve heard that gremlin, whispering theses thoughts down out ears more than once! We have all felt these. People have been through difficult and horrific things! Take a stand and take charge! Witch is easier said than done.
You are imperfect, but you are worthy of love and belonging.
’ Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle of worthiness. But also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love,” - Brene BrownGet your head around that!
I started listening to Brene Brown on TEDTALK. Brene is a professor, author, and powerful storyteller. She has done some amazing research on vulnerability and how to embrace it. I found her talks very intriguing! A 20 minute talk on this subject just wasn’t enough for me! I wanted to know more! I began reading her books and papers on the subject. I became so passionate about it. I started to understand why I would feel the way I felt in different circumstances. Have you ever been hurt or upset by someone? Then you put your safety wall up? Guess what? That wall numbs your vulnerability. By doing that, you numb gratitude, you numb happiness and you numb joy. This explains why we don’t become happier even when our safety wall is up. We then start looking for a purpose and a meaning… then we feel vulnerable.
The feeling of being vulnerable lies at who we are and what we do. It feels risky exposing our ideas, our true emotions and our love for someone. We spend wanting to be ‘perfect.’ Perfectionism is not about self-improvement, it is about earning approval. When we expose our vulnerabilities, we don’t want to be seen as weak or failing, the fear of being shamed publicly. This holds us back, stops us from being innovative and stops us from dreaming big. We stick at things that are easy to reach-we feel less satisfied. If we share an idea, or an image and it does not meet our expectations, we are crushed. We confuse that rejection with personal rejection. If my idea isn’t good enough, then i’m not good enough. We shut down, lose hope, passion and question our ability. We’ve all done this! I no I do. Instead of letting it shut you down, thrive of it!
As a photographer, I wanted to find out how creativity expressed vulnerability. I came across two photographers.
Judy Dater says ”I like to express emotions-to have others feel what it is i’m feeling when i’m photography people.”
Miles Aldridge did a series of images. Capturing vulnerability of the women ‘overwhelmed by their world.”In the pictures the models have a ’ blank look’ on there faces.”These women aren’t blank because they have nothing to say. They are blank because they’re overwhelmed by their world.” He says. He goes on to say-
”When somebody looks lost in thought they’re vulnerable.”
*HMMM* I most often have a blank look on my face. I look lost in thought all the time, sometimes I am. But I thought that was because of the type of personality I have. (INFJ) And I photograph people with a blank look or little expression.
So as you could imagine I had questions, questions about myself I did not no the answer to. Does this mean i’m expressing my vulnerability though the people I photograph? If having no emotion on my face (most of the time) does that mean i’m always vulnerable? Why do I photograph the way I do? Why do I use the colours I use? Well, my anxiety!! I began to loose sleep and I new I could at any time, brake down.
Time we embrace the fact we need to be vulnerable.
I am slowly answering my questions. Instead of feeling a hole heep of emotions, I am excited! I get excited when I find out little facts and peace them together in my puzzle.
* Certain personality types may be able to withstand more pressure, whereas others will buckle under less pressure. (introvert/extrovert)
*My photographic style is a result of what I find aesthetically pleasing, yet a way to express introversion and a lack of emotion, to take pictures of people in their most vulnerable state.
* Colours have meanings. (I hate, and panic when using a white backdrop, yet any other colour i am fine with)
I am dealing with a hole load of other things that make me vulnerable.
By letting go, your creative mind begins to open up, you want to experiment through expression. You get a hole lot of new passion and excitement!
Dare to be vulnerable
Open yourself up. What are your Vulnerabilities? Find out what situations make you feel vulnerable. Understand what makes you experience this fear. Trust me, it opens things up. You feel out of control and uncomfortable. Until I realised my fears, (and it isn’t just to do with my work practise but they do effect my work practise) I was held hostage. I couldn’t move forward.
Remember, this is a slow prosess. It is hard. Maybe having someone to talk to, is a good idea. (not good, bringing emotions and things from the past up and going through it alone!)
There is power in embracing your vulnerability. It means letting go—letting go of failed relationships, failed projects, and anything in your past. Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. Owning our stories and loving ourselves though that process. Remember, we are all imperfect, but we are worthy of love and belonging!