Some of the scariest things in life can sometimes be the most basic. Starting a new job, getting a different haircut, relocating to a new city, or being the first to say “I love you” can make a person forget what comfort feels like. Even the strongest, most confident individual can feel as if they shrank down to the size of a mouse, given the right situation. I know that feeling all too well.
Venturing into a new world makes me the newest member amongst those that have already existed in it. With this entry, I am graciously handed a complimentary ticket to the feeling of vulnerability. The only thing running through my mind is “someone take my ticket, please!!!” Even though I willing walked into this world, my instinctive reaction is to come up with an escape plan. Excuses of why I don’t “really” need to be here flood my thoughts. My muscles tighten as if I’m about to enter a boxing match. The flight mechanism in my body is setting off every alarm it is capable of. I feel as though I’m ready to sprint at a record breaking speed. This is exactly the point where I do the hardest thing I can think of doing in that moment: breathe.
Dr. Brené Brown has demonstrated through her research that “vulnerability is the core of fear, shame, and struggle for worthiness. It is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love.” Okay, so maybe I overreacted a little with that escape plan. Why, then, is being vulnerable so scary? For me, it means I have to acknowledge my imperfections.
My most recent feeling of vulnerability comes from my new endeavor of writing. This entailed letting go of my previous, carefully crafted path of becoming a psychologist and starting from scratch. The world of writing is completely foreign to me, yet I have a very organic love and drive to transform it into my lifelong career. I know in order to enter this world, I have to begin at the bottom while admiringly looking up at all the skilled, well established, and highly respected writers. It is only through actively writing, getting criticized, and learning from mistakes that I will be able to attain the high status of those that I am looking up to. Sir Ken Robinson said, “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with original ideas.” To be wrong, to be imperfect, to be vulnerable is all necessary to attain success because it means I am making an attempt at the unfamiliar. I cannot arrive at a new destination if I do not embark on a new path. If I utilize the criticism I receive properly, then I know it will lead me somewhere great. It is up to me to maintain the courage to see it through.