VULNERABILITY IS POWERFUL

In your wildest dreams, did you ever think that sexual assault would be an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign? Me either. Yet, here we are.

But just when you think the story can’t get  any stranger (or “deplorable,” to use the word du jour) there comes a revelatory moment that changes your whole perspective.

In a roundtable convo on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell show, Ana Marie Cox observed, “the fear of seeming vulnerable keeps us broken. It takes strength to reach out and ask for help.” She was talking, of course, about the People reporter whose story of the republican’s nominee’s boorish behavior had broken that day. She was attempting to explain why women don’t come forward and bear witness. That the fear of being seen or judged as vulnerable somehow made them seem weak in their own or others’ eyes. So they swallow their pain and do what they can to move on.

Of course, as we’ve all learned in our own lives in all sorts of circumstance, you can’t move on unless you identify the source of your distress (whatever it is) and deal with it honestly, courageously and with self-compassion. Sometimes that means speaking up. Or speaking truth to power. Or asking a simple question. Or feeling safe enough to reach out and say, “I can’t do this alone. I’m stuck. Please help me.”

And just like that, what you think is your weakness becomes your strength. By enlarging your circle and bringing help to your side, you start to become your most powerful { self }.

Who do you love?

I don’t do vulnerability well. Don’t like admitting weakness. Don’t like feeling scared. Don’t want people to think that I’m not smart enough to handle it all on my own, thank you very much.

Sound familiar?

In short, I’m not brave enough to face the uncertainty of simply showing up without any protective armor or “expectation of being seen with no guarantee of outcome” (as Brené Brown describes it in her new book, “Rising Strong”). Maybe that’s why it’s taken me a lifetime to learn that you can’t experience authentic love from others unless you can wholeheartedly love yourself first. Which is why these spots from Dove (“My Beauty”) and JC Penney (“Here I am”) resonate so strongly for me. I love how they celebrate the power of putting yourself out there and finding the body positivity and self-acceptance that go along with it.

We'll know we've finally achieved enlightenment when we allow love to embrace all of us, including our { selves }.