a more public vulnerability

Posted: August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

It is a scene that plays itself out over and over again, in all manner of different settings:  Gary and I are somewhere amidst a lot of other people.  There is movement and conversation all around, and all of a sudden I realize his attention is honed in completely on me.  I have two options in that moment:  stop and be as much there with him as he is with me, or stay engaged in the stuff going on all around us.  This is an area where I am being (wonderfully) stretched. 

While I am pretty good (if I may say so myself) in a one-on-one situation about really tuning in and being present in the moment, over the years I have established more of an all-business persona when in a crowd.  I tend to be busy monitoring the whole room, trying to listen to all the conversations at once, trying to feel around and find my place in the crowd.  I have tended to be self-conscious about turning aside for focused attention – to see doing that as “acting like a lovestruck teen” or some other such like term.  I have long been enough people pleaser to worry that someone in the room might be bothered, if I turn aside for a romantic moment amidst a crowd.

Brene Brown shared at the Global Leadership Summit that she had challenged herself to come up with her own definition of love.  I like what she came up with:  to love is to allow our most vulnerable selves to be seen and deeply known.

I have found that easier to process on the level of the intimate relationship.  I am coming to realize that another part of it is:  trusting my family, friends, coworkers, etc. with letting them see vulnerable Karen, stopped in the middle of a crowd, just focused in on her husband, not self-conscious, not trying to remain all-business, not concerned so very much with seeming proper, whatever that means. 

Interestingly, people are not put off by it (which is what the little nagging critical voice in me has always warned would be the response) but instead say they find it endearing, cute, etc.  It’s okay.  That grows me – it was more of a giant step for me than I probably let on as I started taking it.

Growing is good.  I like the part that is just beyond the discomfort, in the “hey, look at that!” zone. 

Wonder what other learning is next.  Always something, eh?

  1. Sara says:

    Yes, there is always something to learn!

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