Vulnerability: For Me, AND for You

Vulnerability is the only bridge to build connection. - Brené Brown

I recently started seeing a counselor every week. It was time. Since Laura’s death, I’ve sought support from numerous sources: friends and family, meditation and other spiritual practices, a grief support group, and off and on, seeking professional help.

Overall, I’ve been doing pretty good and finding a new way. But by late summer, I realized that I had settled into a deep “funk” and needed some help. Everything felt heavy: processing the loss, caring for Grace as a single dad (in August, she entered 9th grade at a new school!), dating and learning to love anew, managing everyday emotion and anxiety, and continuing to serve and minister to others through my work. Whew!

Gratefully, I found a great therapist in my neighborhood (and I’ll share her name if you promise not to fill up her schedule!) and we’ve been doing some great work. I’m already feeling lighter and more hopeful!
And so, when people ask how I am doing, I’m openly and regularly sharing about my journey. It’s bringing me life, so I share it with others. And as I share, I’m finding that others benefit.

For instance, last week I was eating breakfast with a friend. Over introductory small talk, I mentioned my recent routine. She was supportive and mentioned that she too felt a need for counseling. When I asked her what stopped her, she described reservations about being seen going to an appointment. From there, we drifted to other topics.

But later in the conversation, she began to open up about her own struggles, fears, and pain. After listening for awhile, I asked again: “What keeps you from seeking what you know would be helpful?” From there I gently highlighted that it seemed like my openness in our time together was important in creating the environment in which she felt safe enough to open up. And so her stigma and shame was not only sabotaging her own healing but might also be blocking others!

I’m finding that my vulnerability is usually met with vulnerability. And it’s only vulnerability that can create the environment in which healing can flourish. And God knows our culture and all of us need healing. Therefore, I’m committed to living a life of openness and authenticity.

Ten days ago I shared about my relationship and work with a counselor to another friend and she asked for a referral. When we talked yesterday, it was encouraging to hear that she had already had one appointment and has set up another with her husband! Here’s to the continued spread of vulnerability and healing!

For Reflection:

  1. All of us have wounds and brokenness within that could use some healing. What does this statement stir in you? What resonates? Where do you experience resistance?
  2. Have you ever gone to a counselor or therapist? If not, what stops you? In what way does shame or stigma block you?
  3. In what relationships could you be more vulnerable in sharing your story - the good, the bad, and the ugly? How would this benefit you? How do you think it would affect others?