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The Beauty of Vulnerability

Recently, Brené Brown’s books Daring Greatly and Dare to Lead have been challenging the way we view our interactions with others. And vulnerability is at the center of the introspection. We need to feel a measure of trust in order to take the leap to be vulnerable, yet we also need to be vulnerable in order to build trust. But which comes first?

This past week, one of our mentors sat down with a 17 year old guy who is going through some difficult life challenges. One part of the curriculum they were working on is called the Emotion Color Wheel. It’s a good way to break the ice or check in with a participant to see how he/she is feeling and the issues he/she is dealing with at the time. It’s a blank circle on a page where the participant creates a pie chart of sections, chooses at least 3 to 4 emotions they are currently experiencing, and then colors in the pie pieces. It’s been very effective at getting to strong emotions and the source of those feelings. In this case, this 17 year old’s mentor didn’t just make him fill it out on his own - she filled one out as well. Then, they shared parts of what they worked through and how life has had quite a few down turns recently for both of them. Towards the end of the conversation, his mentor offered to pray over him. After she lifted him up and closed out the prayer, he noticed and pointed out that she didn’t pray for herself. A little surprised, his mentor said that she was focused on him at the time but that she would welcome having him pray for her.

“But, I’ve never prayed before. Could you teach me how to pray?”

Black and white picture of a sweet outdoor chapel area with a cross; horses in the background

And, of course, his mentor did. So, this strapping, 17 year old prayed for the very first time - out loud.

What a perfectly beautiful example of how vulnerability and trust are intertwined and are so needed for growth. As Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.”

It took courage for this participant to share what he didn’t know and ask for help. And because he did, something amazing happened. But, it took authenticity and vulnerability of the mentor in order for there to be enough trust and space to ask such questions.

Vulnerability is hard. But it’s sooo needed. And when it happens, something beautiful results from it.

Categories: Stories of Impact>