The Courage to be Vulnerable
Written by Sarah, Jasper’s Mum, for Still Aware.
My blogs, fundraisers, donations & sharing of my personal experience of loss & life after loss all lead to one thing…vulnerability. I share so that I can help to break such a taboo subject in society as well as to encourage others to speak up & let themselves be vulnerable…to be vulnerable is to show strength & courage.
So, some of you may wonder why I decided to talk about this as a topic…well when I realised how vulnerable sharing my experiences was making me I decided to see if I could find any books out there that might assist in shedding some light for me on and around being vulnerable. This all lead to picking up this amazing book called “Daring Greatly” written by Brene Brown – (I think a few people out there could learn a lot from reading it).
I share a lot about the things I have read in books. They say that ‘actions speak louder than words’ but since the loss of our son there are so many things that I read that I feel relate to my personal feelings and thoughts so well that I just have to share them with others, in the hopes that they too feel that they are able to relate. There are a few things I read in this book that really meant something to me.
Things I found in this book, meant something about what I was trying to achieve in my life, about loss and life, about sharing personal experiences and of course about being vulnerable and showing vulnerability:
“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light”.
I don’t feel that there is anything more that I can add to this quote – it really explains itself. Sometimes the only way to move through something is to dive down into the deepest, darkest parts of yourself and your journey. People may think that writing a blog is simple and easy, but what they don’t realise is that to write them you really are diving back into some of the darkest, hardest and most painful moments of your life.
“We have to be vulnerable if we want more courage: if we want to dare greatly”.
If you really sit down and think about this quote it is so true. If I look back over writing my blogs, organising and holding my fundraisers and all the other things I continually do in our son’s memory all I see at every corner is vulnerability – doing these things exposed/exposes me to being 100% vulnerable in my journey of grief and loss, but I can honestly say that it has given me 100% more courage than I ever used to have.
“Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness”.
A lot of people out there would easily believe and think that if someone is vulnerable it means that they are weak. What they need to realise is that it is completely the opposite – someone who can show vulnerability shows that they feel and that they are strong.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability and authenticity”.
By far my favourite extract from this book (I must admit I read it several times):
“Be grateful for what you have. When I asked people, who survived tragedy how we can cultivate and show more compassion for people who are suffering, the answer was always the same: Don’t shrink away from the joy of your child because I’ve lost mine. Don’t take what you have for granted – celebrate it. Don’t apologise for what you have. Be grateful for it and share your gratitude with others. Are your parents healthy? Be thrilled. Let them know how much they mean to you.
When you honour what you have, you’re honouring what I’ve lost”.
The last insert I just shared from the book is the one that I really feel means the most to me and it is a lesson I believe a lot of people out there need to learn – to be grateful for what they have. Since the loss of our son we have had so many hurtful things said to us, about us or behind our backs, we have had people complain about the life that they have, people complain about being tired because they were awake during the night to look after their baby and people just complaining in general (generally about things that are so unnecessary).
They don’t realise that life isn’t meant to be perfect and it certainly isn’t meant to be easy – but they should learn to appreciate what they have and be grateful for what they have right in front of them. They may be tired from staying up to look after their baby but at least they aren’t tired because they have been awake all night due to being unable to sleep because they are suffering from the grief of losing their baby. If people spent the time, they spend to complain to look at what they have and learn to appreciate it and be grateful for it, I really feel there would be so much more positivity and appreciation in the world. Unfortunately, it is generally the people out there who complain about everything who really, in anyone else’s eyes have nothing to complain about at all.
“Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else’s fairytale” – Author Unknown.
It takes a strong person to show vulnerability and to be vulnerable – but when you have already lost the only thing that matters to you more than your own life, when you have experienced such immense pain and when you have nothing else to lose you may as well go for it – you only have everything to gain! At least by being vulnerable you are showing that you feel and love, that you are strong and have the courage and most importantly of all that you are real!
“The hardest part of losing a child is living everyday afterwards” – Author Unknown.
“There is no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things NEVER get back to the way they were” – Author Unknown.
So…do you have the courage to be vulnerable? It might not just change your life, but you may also change someone else’s. You may feel that being vulnerable and showing vulnerability may be scary, but it can also be rewarding and enlightening – at the end of the day what have you got to lose?!