Being Vulnerable and Sharing Your Story
Over the last three years, a lot of people have spoken to me about vulnerability and the fact that they are happy I decided to share my story as openly as I do. After reading amazing articles and books by Brene Brown and Rachel Turner, I truly do believe vulnerability is the key to not only success, but a more fulfilled life in general. From coming to terms with my own issues related to my weight, my odd mix of perfectionism mixed with procrastination, to relating to people and finding a wide support net - it all stemmed off of being vulnerable with myself and my experiences.
Believe me when I say, when I post a very unguarded post - a loose skin picture, an honest realization that my habits are slipping, sharing the truth about my struggle with depression - none of this has gotten easier over time.
I still get the same dread, the same anxiety, as I type and post those stories for the whole world to see. I am still acutely aware of the fact that
the internet is forever.
If I ever decided to abandon sharing my life on the internet, my pictures and posts would still be out there for people to see. Family, employers, the internet trolls, the general public - they all have unfettered access to a decent chunk of my life, including some pretty sensitive topics.
Sometimes that makes me stop and reconsider everything - stop what I’m doing, and go live a life off grid and escape all of the social media and internet constraints I have put on myself.
But then I remember the people who came before me.
The people who shared their stories, their experiences. Whether it is weight loss, healthy relationships, general happiness, building tiny houses, getting out of debt, traveling the world - all of the people I have grown to love and admire over the years - they matter so much to me. They help me see the possibilities that life could hold.
They wrote incredibly real posts, they cried on camera, they shared “ugly” pictures.
With that little reminder of how much they mean to me, I can always look back and think, “huh, maybe I made an impact on someone in a similar way.”
When I get messages or comments from real people saying my stuff matters - it reminds me that I am not screaming into a void, but that there are real people on the other side of this screen that I can impact.
I decided to write about vulnerability because I have some pretty vulnerable decisions coming up in my life (more details coming soon), and while I am so excited about what those decisions could lead to - it’s always scary to rock the boat. Especially when over 70,000 people are watching you, waiting to see what happens next.
While running a social media platform that is focused on health and weight loss, it is so easy to get sucked into perfectionism. You want to make sure that not only are you saying the right thing in the right way at the best angle - but you worry how will people perceive it. There is an amazing quote from Brene Brown that says,
“Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgement, and blame.”
Instead of protecting me from those negative feelings, such as judgement or shame, perfectionism sends me into a spiral into never feeling good enough, which causes me to not sharing my truth, then putting forward false images or posts, which causes me to not find people to relate to or give myself some kind of human connection.
Perfectionism causes a downward spiral in me like nothing else can - and my one key way of pulling myself out, is sharing my vulnerability. I have talked to so many people online who share this same sentiment, and those are the people who I see fight so hard to share the truth and the struggle in whatever path they are on. In an age of the daily hustle and grind to always end up on top, normalizing the fact that we all struggle in different ways brings empathy to our lives as we find more people to trust and connect with. The simple power of feeling heard when feeling isolated by shame is one of the most freeing aspects of sharing your story.
With that in mind, I encourage everyone to share your story without shame. Even if it isn’t out loud for the whole world to see - being able to be vulnerable with my family, my husband, my friends - that has gotten me farther than anything else. It’ll take time, and you’ll probably have a lead ball in your stomach. But sharing your truth and being honest will only help lead you to a life that you can find peace and connection with those who understand.
What would you talk about if you weren’t scared of being vulnerable? Let me know in the comments, or send me an email at email@example.com if you don’t feel comfortable yet sharing your thoughts publicly. I would love to hear your take on vulnerability and what you think is holding you back.