How do you process what’s necessary to start a new venture when it involves putting your vulnerabilities and insecurities front and center? That’s the question we find we’re asking ourselves as we cast vision for what this idea should look like. First, we want to live vulnerably in everything we write, post, and present; we know that’s step one. But how? What does “a life vulnerably lived” look like? Easier said than done…
We began developing this idea at the beginning of the year when we first started dating, having decided not to post publicly about each other or our relationship for pretty much the first full month. Maybe part of it was nerves at a new thing, perhaps some of it from actively choosing wisdom to some degree, or there could have even been fear of failure or the unknown in the early days. We both had very different takes on the reasoning for this, which we’ll get into some other time in individual blogs. Nevertheless, we made the point of removing ourselves from the “public eye” (if you can call social media that) in order to effectively tune in to what we were deciding our relationship to be built on.
What did we ultimately discover that led to this launch? It seems a great portion of vulnerability is presence: simply being seen in an authentic moment. No, this does not necessarily mean displaying an uncut play-by-play or dirty laundry for all the world to see. What if, instead, we let ourselves be fully seen walking through any given moments without a shield of prideful or false self-protection up? What if authority and strength are gained from being present (with full intention and full attention) in the emotions of those moments?
How easy it has too often been for us to act and respond to both chaotic and celebratory times with the “public eye” in mind, measuring our response carefully to present a curated image of ourselves and our experience. While this can be all well and good in certain situations, we’ve found this to not always be beneficial for us when it comes to operating with the integrity we so desire. True vulnerability is birthed from choosing to share the raw truth, even if it leaves you feeling exposed or open to both praise and criticism. After all, it’s certainly not the most comfortable thing to put yourself out there for even your closest circles to see what you’re truly feeling and experiencing.
In Donald Miller’s book “Scary Close” he posits some thoughts on overcoming the fear of being true and honest…
“The whole experience makes me wonder if the time we spend trying to become somebody people will love isn’t wasted because the most powerful, most attractive person we can be is who we already are, an ever-changing being that is becoming and will never arrive, but has opinions about what is seen along the journey.
…If honesty is the key to intimacy, it means we don’t have to be perfect and, moreover, we don’t have to pretend to be perfect.” *
That thought is convicting and quite scarily close for comfort, that’s for sure! So where does it leave us? After all, choosing to share what you’re going through in its truest, most full form can certainly be intimidating. But it also takes us further in. As bridge builders, we are so beyond determined to see this in the spheres of influence we have.
Surely, exposure means inviting stronger opinions from others, harsher judgments, and even deeper pain from certain responses. However, by nature, this also means that our souls, in all their doubts and triumphs, are opened up to experience more full and deep love: love that’s unconditional, since it sees us for who we are, authentic, true, and in process. In the end, we believe that is what makes vulnerability all worth it. If it allows for truer intimacy–not just in our relationship with each other, but also in our relationships with our community around us, and even in others across the digital landscape–then we’re all in.