I was raised in a family where vulnerability was barely tolerated: no training wheels on our bicycles, no goggles in the pool, just get it done. And so I grew up not only with discomfort about my own vulnerability, I didn't care for it in other people either.
Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think.
In many ways, September feels like the busiest time of the year: The kids go back to school, work piles up after the summer's dog days, and Thanksgiving is suddenly upon us.
I'm just going to say it: I'm pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it's about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we've done - or failed to do - with our personal values.
As unique as we all are, an awful lot of us want the same things. We want to shake up our current less-than-fulfilling lives. We want to be happier, more loving, forgiving and connected with the people around us.
As a vulnerability researcher, the greatest barrier I see is our low tolerance for vulnerability. We're almost afraid to be happy. We feel like it's inviting disaster.
It's hard to practice compassion when we're struggling with our authenticity or when our own worthiness is off-balance.
I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.
Maybe stories are just data with a soul.
The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.