I was reading through some of my old blog posts, and this one proved to be a good reminder of equating vulnerability with weakness.  When I read the statement, my mind instantly conjured up the image:

vulnerability = weakness
vulnerability = courage

I recently took two risks, one right after the other.  The outcome for each was not what I wanted.  And truthfully, I’m still in recovery.

The first was personal, and I was terrified to make the move.  The first few days, I felt totally rejected.  I cried multiple times and spent the weekend hunkered down in my house. I even worried I was falling into depression again.  This outcome hit me hard.

Courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one.”

The second was professional, however the premise behind the conflict was very personal.  I considered withdrawing, because I was fearful. Since the outcome did not fall in my favor, again, I felt rejected.  My feelings were hurt.

Courage is “strength in the face of pain or grief.”

Recovery is a process. While time has passed, and I’m feeling better, I’m not 100% myself again.  But I won’t ever be 100% the person I was before these incidents occurred. I will have grown.  I will have learned, and I will come out a better person because of them.

My goal for this year was to embrace courage.  As 2018 nears a close, I’ve been taking some time to reflect on how I’ve stood up to my courageous goals.  Often we think of courageous acts in life-changing decisions and bold moves, but courageous acts occur in much of our daily activities.  It can be as simple as voicing your opinion when your opinion is in the minority.

While you may not be able to control the outcome of certain situations, there is empowerment in the risk of being vulnerable.  It’s not the result that defines the person; it’s how you handle the process and the aftermath.  It’s finding the benefit in every situation, even if the only benefit you can find is growth.

They say that you should find comfort in the uncomfortable.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that I’m actually starting to accept uncomfortable as a new norm. I’m starting to embrace it in some situations, like introducing myself to new people.  This simple gesture is something that has terrified me in the past.  Being courageous during those small moments of vulnerability, I’ve developed new contacts, built my network, found mentors, and made friends.

Focusing on the benefit brings empowerment to vulnerability.  For my two situations, I knew that no matter the outcome, I was going to learn from both.  While it didn’t make either any easier to endure, and although I’m still not quite “over” them, it’s made it a little easier to move on.  Right now, I’m just feeling the side effects.  I’m assessing and self-reflecting, which means I’m growing.  So maybe the next time I take a similar risk, the blow will be a little less hard.

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