I remember one interview where Bernard Poolman talked about how one’s greatest weaknesses are in fact one’s greatest strengths. And, what he said made sense to me, because I think that possibly the major point that I have a difficulty dealing with in my life is fear, and what I see as its’ derivatives, like anxiety and doubt. I live these emotions very strongly, I don’t remember a day in the last years where I didn’t experience these emotions at some level. These emotions have taken a toll on me physically, they tire me, and I even have a chronic disease which is caused mostly by stress and anxiety. So, I do live so very intensely, anxiety and fear, very very intensely. This intensity at times transforms into a form of deep despair… but I feel like little by little I have been recognizing more and more another part in me that coexists with this fear and anxiety. There is something inside me that feels so powerful, so big, so so big and powerful, so strong! While I outside can feel weak at times, inside I feel this…thing, that is so strong inside me. I really have no other words but those three: strong, big, and powerful. Inside me there is this little space, when I am silent and calm and I can appreciate this space in me, where there is this strength, and force, and power. So, I see how my intense fear coexists in me with this intense power and courage. And, I think that from the mix of these two (fear+power and strength) is born: Courage.
Courage, to me, is a state or an expression of someone who tries to overcome a fear, to surpass fear. And courage to me needs two interesting things to exist: one is the recognition and the appreciation of this power we see and feel inside us. And the second thing that I think courage needs to exist, the second key to courage, is vulnerability. Vulnerability, contrary to the first key, is what I have had a greater difficulty developing and expressing in my life. This is due to many factors about my upbringing and many other things that I will possibly discover later, that I don’t see yet. But, I realize that when I have dared to go for something, to overcome my fear, to take risks, to be courageous, in those moments I have been vulnerable because I was willing to trade off my fear of being seen as fearful and weak, for me, for the strength in me, for living this strength, for getting rid of this for me, it was all for me, my expression. So, I think that one of the thing that limit us and prevents us from being vulnerable and therefore courageous is our ego, and, again fear! because we fear how others see us, we fear being seen as weak, we fear rejection, we fear being humiliated, seen as less, and at the same time our ego wants us to show a strength, but it is a strength that is fake, it is very very fake, because it’s not the real one that we feel inside, the real power and greatness that we have inside. Real power and greatness are extremely vulnerable, extremely. They do not try to be power and greatness, they just are. You will see many people for instance speaking in front of audiences, and some of them seem confident, but they can be dealing very strongly with fear inside, while other speakers tremble on stage. Those that I see as trembling in front of an audience for instance, are those who are trying to overcome this fear of speaking in public, but are still being bombarded and tried to be brought down by their fear of rejection, of humiliation, of judgement. But these people that you see trembling on stages, if they give themselves that opportunity to keep trying and practice speaking up again and again until they overcome the fear, they will be very good eventually. I think that many great speakers went through that. But it is until one decides to be vulnerable and accepts the trembling on stage, that then one can discover the great speaker and orator that one has inside. So, it’s all about vulnerability, really, I think that it is the most difficult and challenging key. And even if I have had a difficulty with being vulnerable for a part in my life, I think that at least recognizing this is a big step…a big step towards vulnerability.
For more perspectives on vulnerability, listen to René Brown, she’s great!