“There is no greater measure of courage than vulnerability.” Brene’ Brown, PhD
There are people who can mask their emotions under even the most stressful of situations. I call this ability a poker face and we all have worn it from time to time. We wear this unreadable expression when we want to keep our cards close to our chest and don’t want others to know our true feelings. We mask those emotions with a very neutral facial expression.
We cover our vulnerability. As humans we have become good at reading facial expressions, it’s a survival skill. A twitch of an eye, a tear or maniacal smirk can give us a warning when the situation is about to go in a negative direction. Just the opposite is true also; laughter and smiles can let us know it’s okay for us to be at ease.
Although humans share this planet and we all should be on the same team, we know this isn’t true, for everyone seems to separate themselves by their beliefs. Still others will use your vulnerability to manipulate you or use it against you. There are even some situations in which having a poker face is necessary for success; as a lawyer, a business person making deals, or even a politician.
Yet, even with all that, there are those who wear their hearts on their sleeves and everything they are thinking is as plain as the nose on their face. What I don’t understand is why showing our emotions is considered weak. As a woman, I swim in my emotions every minute of every day. I find them very useful actually. These emotions grow my strength.
If a sunrise makes my eyes tear up with gratitude for another day or if a Kleenex commercial makes me cry with sentiment, why is this considered fragile? If I am vulnerable enough to feel all these emotions, I am also strong enough to process them and use them to my benefit. Doesn’t feeling our emotions and willing to share them, make us stronger than those who chose to keep sentiment under lock and key? Emotions get things done; they make us act, move proverbial mountains and even change the world.
Being emotionally invested in an outcome, helps us to see alternate routes and options for solutions. Being passionately invested in the results makes me very creative in finding solutions. I don’t buy into the two choice only options always given to us as a society. False choices of having to choose between the right or the left, masculine/feminine, right/wrong, environmental preservation or economic growth… just doesn’t always fit the need.
Who decided it is the emotionless, poker faces of the world that get to choose what is right and wrong? I’m calling BS on how ‘strength’ is depicted. The way I see it, emotions, covered up by a neutral mask, only means you are not brave enough to show the world your real face.
It is our beliefs that separate us and make us give others the choice of my way or your way… when really, our world is full of options and solutions and hardly ever is there only two choices.
As American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge.”
I believe we are currently in a “times of challenge” part of our history. There are still so many people who think that maybe women are not ‘strong enough’ to lead because we are emotional beings. I disagree. To choose to wear your heart on your sleeve or your emotions all over your face, is brave and profoundly human. To show your vulnerability is to show your courage and what you stand for. It is those with the poker faces you should be wary of.
Emotion like this can even be seen in the little details of life. Like the strength of a mother who brings her 6-week-old newborn into the clinic for vaccinations. Knowing she is about to subjecting her infant to the pain of the injection. She too cries with her baby, as the shot is administered. Holding in her arms the embodiment of unconditional love. She knows this act is for a greater good and protection… There is the emotion of love streaming down her face. There is strength.
Strength has a face and it is not what Hollywood tells us. It is not a poker face or an angry face. It is in the emotion and courage to be brave no matter what. If society is going to heal, we need to change the way we view strength. Because if anyone knows how to heal, nurture and grow; it is a woman with the courage to be brave enough to show her strong emotions to all.
It’s our time to show up and be our true selves. Know it is okay to be vulnerable and that being true to ourselves is the greatest measure of courage.
“There is no greater measure of courage than vulnerability.” Brene’ Brown, Ph.D. from her book Rising Strong. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it!
*Picture take on the Mississippi River, my daughters first canoe ride. (She was scared but brave. I am so proud of her!)
Wishing you love and blessings,
Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister