That may seem to have a pretty obvious answer to a lot of people, but to some the connection is not clear.
I recently read the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. The subtitle makes the claim that having "the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead." That is a bold statement!! Well, it's true. She uses a lot of juicy stories and examples in the book to explain how it's true, however the biggest claim that resonated with me is that vulnerability goes further than just expressing some deep, sad emotion - it encompasses those moments when wonderful, amazing things happen in your life.
Think back to when you had an amazing experience. Maybe it was when you got your dream job offer, or when you met your partner and felt an immediate spark. How about the glow after a sensual, divine romp with your lover? Maybe you felt most vulnerable when your child was born? My most recent vulnerable experience was when my father celebrated his birthday three weeks after getting a cancer diagnosis that came back: REMISSION. That day was amazing!!
I cried tears of joy feeling how fortunate we are that he was able to celebrate another birthday after overcoming his cancer. My mom cared for him this summer after he was hospitalized unexpectedly and we almost lost him. My sister and I rallied to help as much as we could, but my mom took on the most burden (also with the support of local family). So, when I shed those tears, I was also feeling so grateful that my mom can take a break. She can celebrate his health and celebrate her own dedication and strength.
So often, that deep feeling of gratitude and awe disappears quickly followed by worry and doubt. We see an experience as lucky and jump to how things could get worse again. The cancer could always come back, we could lose our job, or your partner could stop loving you.
That is vulnerability and letting someone in on that vulnerability leads to deep, true connection. Staying in the moment and focusing on moving through good and bad feelings and letting those around you know what you're experiencing is a way to use vulnerability to create intimacy.
The holidays can be a difficult time because complicated family dynamics can put stress on your emotions. Remember that even if the communication is lacking, the intention of family is LOVE. We don't all know how to express love without vulnerability feeling painful, but the more you practice sharing your honest experience, the easier it gets.
As you sit down with family and friends this Thanksgiving, try asking these questions of yourself and others. Start to understand how others might express their own vulnerability:
What is something amazing that's happened this year? Did I fully celebrate it?
How has this year been challenging and what did getting through that challenge teach me?
What am I afraid of losing and how can I show how much it means to me?
Please share your celebrations in the comments below. Let me know how you experience vulnerability and if it's helped deepen an experience or connection for you!