Laid out this way it's pretty easy to tell where we stand (or fall).
Frankly, it's a reality check.
As I read this comparison I thought back to times I've found myself in both roles. I don't like the memories of when I was a victim. I never want to be that person again... my heart desires to prevent it. I am human, I mess up, I'll sometimes do what my heart doesn't really want to do.
This is real. This is life.
It's certainly natural to go through times of grieving, heartache, frustration, motivation, perseverance, and victory. After all, life is full of ups and downs. Our adrenaline pumps wild when we start something new and great! We do terrific for a while and then find the newness starting to wear off. If we aren't careful, we can slip back into the victim role before we know what hit us.
There's something about being vulnerable (capable of being wounded or hurt; open to moral attack, criticism, temptation) that frees us to discover our authentic self and connect with others and our dreams on a different level. We want to connect. We want to be accepted. We want to be included. We want to overcome.
But shame unravels connection.
Shame is the fear of disconnection; worrying "is there something about me that if other people know or see will prevent me from being worthy of connection". We all experience shame. No one wants to talk about it... and the less you talk about it, the more you have. If you can fill in this blank, "I'm not ___ enough.", you have shame.
Shame sounds a lot like inferiority and insecurity, doesn't it?
In order for real connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to really be seen.
I did this when I created this blog. Putting it all out there; my weight, my struggles, my mess-ups and disappointments... it's super uncomfortable at times. It's embarrassing. I get sick to my stomach. I want to run, hide, and cry! But I have to be vulnerable and honest with those I encounter, whether on this blog, on Facebook, at church, etc. I'm not going to help myself or others by pretending everthing's hunky-dory at all times. I spent many years living this way and missed out on opportunities to connect with people who could've provided help, support, or inspiration to me, and me to them.
I now try to have courage (from the Latin word cor, meaning heart). In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant "To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart." Over time, this definition has actually changed, and today, courage is synonymous with being heroic or performing brave deeds.
I dig both meanings!
I want to connect with you. And I hope you connect with me. We're in this together and we CAN see our dreams come true! "It may be difficult, but it's possible!" See the gain! See the possibilities! Make it happen!
I encourage you to:
Have the courage to be imperfect.
Have the compassion to be kind to yourself first, and then to others. We can't practice compassion to other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly.
Let go of you who think you should be in order to be who you are.
Fully embrace vulnerability. What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful. It's not comfortable and it's not excruciating, but it's necessary.
* This post was inspired by Brene' Brown's TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability! *