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Being Vulnerable

Posted 9/12/2021


The most asked question I hear is, “how do you be so vulnerable?”


I’ll answer first with one of my Mentor’s quote, it’s by Brene Brown and it reads;

VULNERABILITY is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome


The second place I’ll start from is, I owe being vulnerable all to my own two kids. Without them knowing, they gave me a new physical and literal view, perhaps chance on life. That meant, as Brene say’s, being willing to have the courage to show up when I didn’t or can’t control the outcome. Watching my kids discover words and things that I had so much wisdom over, their sense of simplicity on what made them happiest or the ambition for going after what they saw they want, and discovering truth or lying, I knew exactly then, with them, I wanted to live inside their world again – yet this time I could teach them from”choice = consequence or gain.” Whenever either my kid wanted to do or get something, I would teach them what they could gain or face in consequences from having that freedom to choose. Between them and me we would set up the consequence versus punishment. The gain of course was their goal – the outcome was something I taught them to detach from but if they chose they had to choose 100% in. When integrity is in, it works, when it’s out- nothing works. Detach from the outcome and the lesson comes then! Oh boy, there was a few good lessons and a few times they swallowed their own consequences. Many around me didn’t agree to my style of parenting and hey – you can be the strictest parent and the kid will most likely still show up the same way or both worse. I believe in choice and the outcome of not knowing is where all the gold really lies within! 


My mom often said, “the hardest part about being a parent is letting your kids go to make their own mistakes but it’s in doing so, they learn for themselves”


I write in my book, God WTF of a few times when “truth” reshaped it self, but there is one defining moment with “truth”when it finally changed for good! Iin short, without spoiling the chapter, when the innocence of my children played out in front of me triggering me towards my own child-hood memories of what I vowed as a parent would never happen with my own kids, the moment with them tested me, do I tell my kids the truth and tell on myself now? Or should I hide it and keep it all to myself? 


The moment in the car, three of us, on a hot sunny day driving to school, it all unravelled like dominoes  quickly falling down, back to back and Brene Brown’s quote came alive in the most vivid unforeseen experience!  “Jump Charmaine, 2 feet in you will find your wings half way down!” And jump I did, I told them!!!…..”the kids now knew a very ugly truth about mom” I knew I didn’t know the outcome of, never mind the moment, but what the future of my ugly truth would hold with them when they really understood the impact of it all. It was in those moments and that future, I had no control over AND what I did know, I HAD a choice to start showing up as a parent that teaches vulnerable choice moments whether it be to with-hold, pretend, fake and lie or be willing to risk look bad and take full responsibility, show imperfect and mistakes, it was my choice and I chose to tell the truth from that point on, and show up every time to my actions. If I wanted to teach them how being honest looks like, I have to be honest first.  Little did I know that in the outcome, how choosing “truth-living”would be perceived all around me and how many times it would test me when running up others who I knew were not living truth living. Truth-living I knew from before and after was not everyone’s fair cup of tea and I had to let go to that, while sustain who I wanted to be in order to reflect who I wanted to see from my own children. Would I recommend “truth-living?” I can’t say a yes or no on that one, for me? It’s the most freeing choice I ever made and one I’m proud for because in the end, my kids know first, truth is the only way to live from and I have nothing my kids will never know me as being having a hidden side. Something I grew up with and where lying first for me, began. 


My kids opened up my eyes up into we aren’t born lying, we learn all about lying from ones we are supposed to trust the most. Sad fact. 


Being vulnerable is a space where many often avoid dancing in, even speaking about it causes many to shut down and it’s ordinary, in fact it’s common, to view vulnerability as “weak,” thus deciding for ourselves, “if I show any vulnerability, I’ll be perceived as weak, wrong, bad or crazy.” And sadly, that IS what will happen around you with most likely the ones where you need the support the most. 


The irony is, to be human and connect with another, it takes the very essence of being vulnerable. 


I first started re-learning the context for vulnerability back about 12 to 14 years ago. I was sitting, as I often did, in a classroom for personal development when the class leader wrote the word, “vulnerable” on the chalk board. She then turned to the class and asked us, “describe in words what vulnerability means to you.” She littered the chalk board with words the class was shouting out and I swear, every word or words that got said, as the chalk board got filled up so too did the room with heavy feeling energy. It was like the energy all got sucked out and all of sudden we portrayed the words on the board, as; Weak, trouble, sad, exposed, bad, not good, don’t show it, don’t show anyone, end of relationships, loving someone….


Why weren’t we taught these kinds of unique life-skills languages in school? Todays Education curricula still do not teach this! Just imagine if we were?! 


Back at my classroom, we got invited (after she erased all of the “learned” experiences) to “invent a new living into” kind of space where we each, uniquely, wanted to see the word “vulnerable” live like in our lives then shout it out!  It was in those moments, vulnerability took on a whole new sustainable power of context to live into! I was free, accepting, compassionate and one – WITH MANY! I was never alone again! Thank you Landmark Worldwide


Now, if you talk a world of possibility – you are directly speaking into my language. I love living and learning, in fact, I hunger for seeing the other sides of how we know truth or learned experiences to be, perhaps better said, I am ready and eager to create an outcome from the “not-knowing-how”, but with a good will and firm intention in place, it’s being in that uncomfortable unreasonable zone, being willing to reach out, ask for support, trust the process kind of way of being that has proven to me over and over and over again wins! Does that come easy? No! Are there risks? Absolutely? Is it worth it? Abso-FREAKINGLY-lutely!!!!


Being vulnerable has meant, for me, saying I’m going to reach this dream trip with no money in the bank, no job and even an eviction on my doorstep, speaking into the future as if it already exists, like saying I’m an ALS Reversal or I’m living into a cure, being honest where some dare not be honest is often, all of the above looked as irrational, unreasonable, I’ve even heard, “there is something terribly wrong with you Charmaine,” or “do you think it’s false hope?” I guess when all of this happens it’s wisdom and learning how to detach from minds like these, hold no wrong or no ill will back just know it’s not my mind, it’s not words, it’s not my thinking or it’s not my choice to believe or live like that, it’s other’s and that’s okay “for them”… I put power to people’s actions and words against me for so long that I truly think the cause of ALS (as Gabor Mate quoted)is me choosing I’m not worthy, always proving my worth!


To live transparent and unhidden means immediately exposing yourself and being vulnerable. It’s a choice that you choose with two feet in or two feet out. It takes something unfounded inside to be willing to show up when you know others around you might not. It takes weeding out and setting healthy boundaries so you can build the reflecting surrounding of people and communities. 


I’ll end this blog with another one of my mentor’s quotes, by RUMI

Many of the faults you see in other’s dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them”

Please share here, leave your comments, what did you feel after reading this blog? I would love to read your feedback and comments.