Actual Vulnerability

I finished Glennon Doyle Melton’s book Love Warrior. I heard women saying this book was “life-changing”, “eye-opening”, “soul-splitting.”
It takes a lot to change my life, open my eyes, and/or split my soul.

Damnit. This book really did it.

Glennon (we’re on a first name basis) blew me away with her RAW honesty, but even more, her VOICE. She writes in a voice that I hear in my head. It’s my voice. It’s probably your voice, too. I feel like I’ve said so much of her writing so many times. Holy wow. She’s everyone’s sister. And she’s encouraging all of us to show up and just be real.

She does this thing with vulnerability, though, that made me see that word in a whole new way. I used to work for people who touted vulnerability like a badge of honor. It was this new and sexy idea: without splitting open your inner most stories and exposing them to the world, you’re not being vulnerable; you’re not doing the work that creates real change. I could never figure out why I went along with it but didn’t believe it. On the surface, it makes total sense. If you sit down and share a vulnerable moment with a friend/family member/partner, you almost immediately feel closer and more connected. Right?

I heard an interview with author Don Miller once, and he said, “Vulnerability opens pathways, but only when it’s sincere. People can smell fake vulnerability a mile away.”

That’s why I never bought it. Because that vulnerability was manufactured, pulled thin from the giant cotton ball and wrapped around a shiny, plastic spool. Neat, deliverable package. But the intention was questionable. It was a costume. It was a highlight reel. It was presented as vulnerability, but really it was a completely safe share.

I’ve known so, so many people who’ve started oversharing, like that’s going to make us close. I’ve met people who use vulnerability as a weapon: they appear authentic but you’re left feeling icky and manipulated. Neither of these is actual vulnerability, because the real thing is more than just uncomfortable.
It’s terrifying.
It’s going after something you want knowing you could lose more than just the opportunity.
It’s putting it all in the pot without a promise you’ll get anything out.
It’s trusting another soul with your fear.
It’s an honest reveal, a true and unmotivated step towards REAL.
It’s with the intention of service and growth.

Glennon didn’t write a soul-bearing book to sell copies. She didn’t do it to make the New York Times best seller list. She shared her story in hopes that it would serve, help, and reveal truth in others. That is the very reason she sold a bunch of copies and made the NYT best seller list.

Her story illuminated massive truths within me that I hadn’t known were there (and some I’d conveniently forgotten). Truths like:
There is no finish line.
There is no perfect.
There is no cure for pain outside of walking through it.
There is no simple fix (except for macaroni. Macaroni fixes a lot…)


And the biggest reminder: No is OK.

That’s how I know her intention: she changed my life with her vulnerability. I both love her and hate her for it, ‘cuz now I can’t unknow what she taught me. Another layer of the onion…


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