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  • Darci Daniels

Vulnerability and Courage

Trevi Fountain, Rome
Taking my last trip to Italy, and, believe it or not, putting on this dress, were both acts of vulnerability and courage. What does it look like for you?

Whenever I have writer’s block, I remember the 3 things I can do: I can write with no intent or purpose, just write a shitty first draft of something to get the ball rolling; I can come up with a topic that I know will be easy to write about, usually something business/sales related with the intent to help; or I can write something authentic, raw, and real.

I’ll be honest, it’s a toss-up what gets chosen. But what’s not a toss-up is how successful the blog is – inevitably when I choose the latter category, my writing is better, clearer, and a lot more popular.

Damn it.

You see, that’s the hardest to write. Gritty and true. Not caring what people think or how they may judge me when they read it. It’s usually a topic that I needed to hear about once upon a time, or a recent revelation I’ve had. What’s going on in my head, how I’ve coached myself, what my heart is feeling. Those are the juiciest things to read about, and actually, to write about. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Baring your soul on the page for anyone to read is an act of bravery and brazenness that, I’ll be honest, I didn’t know I had in me until I started doing it. The coaching videos I post are another form of courage, but it’s very, very different. Those are difficult because of my ego: how do I look, how do I sound, am I helping anyone with this? But the writing is closer to home, it’s more personal, and it’s not about ego and what people think or even whether it is "coachy". When I’m writing something that’s vulnerable, it’s simply the act of putting words to what is going on inside me and then pressing post for anyone to see that takes bravery. You’re seeing the 'real' me. The authentic, no bs, snapshot in time of what’s happening in my small world of one.

I’ve written the easy posts that I think will help people, but it doesn’t punch me in the gut to write it. It’s easy, and it flows from the same place I wrote 15 page papers in college – a little bs + genuine truth x a dash of advice for you = the world as I see it. But when I’m writing authentic, raw, and real, it’s about how I see myself and my life, not about the world. That’s why it takes courage and hits me in the gut.

So why do I do it? Many, varied reasons, but mainly this -- do you know what one of the best feelings in the world is? Not when someone tells me they enjoy what I’ve written, or even they’re proud of me (although those are great). It’s when someone says about one of my vulnerable blogs, “omg, me too! I know exactly what you’re talking about!” Or, “I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but YEAH. I’ve felt that way, and what you’re saying really helps me.” It’s connecting with other human beings on some invisible playing field called life, where they come to my huddle and say, “thank you for telling your story and making space for me to tell mine”. I live to hold space for people to tell, revise, and figure out their stories.

As the incredible author and researcher Brené Brown has said, vulnerability and courage are not opposites. In fact, they depend on each other. You can’t have vulnerability without courage, and you can’t have courage or bravery without a level of vulnerability.

You also can’t have it without connection. Although we often think of connection in terms of connecting with other people, it’s also about the connection to yourself. My authentic, real-er writing would not be possible without a strong self-awareness and connection to myself. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so real; it would be the easy, what-other-people-may-want-to-hear article.

The beauty of it is, the more genuine, vulnerable, and connected to myself I am, the more people respond. They see themselves in a sentence I’ve written, or a tip I’ve posted on my videos. They see it in the humor I try to express when I write fashion reviews of Hollywood award shows (sorry, if you’re not friends with me on Facebook you won’t see them, they’re not for widespread public consumption)! My favorite way to experience it isn’t when I’m talking about me though, it’s when I’m holding space for my client who is working on themselves. It’s when someone I love reaches out because they want to talk or get together. It’s when my daughter wants to cuddle with me, and I feel at peace and am grateful for every second I get to be there for her. It’s when my best friend needs to vent, and I get to bear witness.

This isn’t unique to me, the same thing works for you. It’s universal. The more genuine, vulnerable, authentic, real, and connected you are, the more the world responds positively.

We often think of courage and bravery as big, impossible things – running into battle, fighting an awful disease like cancer, moving on with life in the face of overwhelming grief. And all of that is true. But it’s not the only place we express courage and bravery. It’s the smaller, everyday things. Whenever we’re willing to stand in integrity, be honest with ourselves and others, and give love without reservation, we express it. We express it when we hold someone’s hand while they’re going through the tough time, or put aside our own grief to comfort another, or gently, lovingly, call someone out when their integrity is questionable. Whenever we allow that real authentic connection and risk being hurt by another… that’s vulnerable and brave. To show your authentic self and to speak your truth. To choose love over hate. To call yourself on your bullshit, and then love yourself anyway. To tell someone they hurt you and why. To accept someone else telling you why you hurt them, and sincerely apologizing. Realizing you’re acting from ego, stopping yourself, and pivoting toward integrity instead. Asking how you can be a better partner. Friend. Parent. Employee. To grow, and stretch, and put yourself out there for rejection.

As we move forward with this New Year, I’m thinking about how I can be more vulnerable and courageous. How I can create deeper connections. How I can hold myself to my own standard of integrity (not someone else’s standard), and, when I fail, love myself anyway. How I can help do that for others, when they’ll let me. How I can demonstrate this for my daughter, so it doesn’t just live inside me, but so she can see the messiness and complexity of being human and how we can embrace the chaos of life and still let love win. How to love yourself, regardless of how imperfect you are. Because we all are.

Anyone who says they have it all figured out is either lying or letting their ego run the show. No one does. Not actors or musicians or politicians. Not the churches. Not our parents. Not even Oprah. We’re all pretending we know how to do this thing called life. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay! It’s what makes us human.

Vulnerability and courage.

Are you ready to live differently in 2020?

P.S. – At the beginning of this, I mentioned 3 different things I can do when I have writer’s block. Do you know which one this was? 😉


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