Brave enough to be vulnerable –

“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

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

Follow the Adventure Sisters on Facebook!

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com

 

 

Will you hold my hand?

Earlier this week, I had a minor surgery to remove a cyst in my neck. The procedure was performed in an operating room. As they wheeled me in, I saw a room full of stainless-steel equipment and nurses bundled up in their surgical garb and masks and remembered I was going to be fully awake for this procedure. The area numbed with Novocain before the doctor was to remove the growth with a scalpel.

Being awake, I made small talk with the nurses, who were very kind and chatted with me too. There was one nurse whose job it was to sit and keep me company, while monitoring my vital signs. I did not think I was nervous since I knew what was going to happen and how it was going to happen. Yet the moment they helped me on to the operating table I seem to have gotten cold feet. I wanted to run away!

When she strapped on the blood pressure cuff, my cover of small talk and cracking jokes was blown! My heartrate and blood pressure were through the roof! Even though I tried to play it cool, statistics showed my body was clearly in fight or flight mode. The nurse, in charge of my vitals, was a welcome distraction from the reality of a large incision being made to my body while awake.

When the doctor walked in, I chatted with her too. She’s become my favorite doctor and I feel very comfortable with her. In my head, I was trying to calm myself, by inducing my own meditative state of breathing deep and such. No luck, my body knew what was going to happen and even though my mind was very logical and factual, my blood pressure was not coming down.

It’s like my body knew trauma was coming and it was very scared. At that moment I knew I needed comfort. I looked at the nurse, who was right next to me the whole time, and asked her. “Will you please hold my hand?”

She obliged kindly and continued to hold my hand for the whole procedure. Doing her best to ask me questions and give me distractions from the doctor and scalpel working diligently behind me. Nurse W told me she was a seasoned nurse, working part-time until retirement. I could tell. She had calmness and caring demeanor only years of practice can produce. It made me feel like I could ask her to help me in the only way she could, by holding my hand.

Isn’t it funny how you can find comfort in a perfect stranger’s hand in a time of trauma, anxiety or extreme stress? Okay, maybe funny isn’t the word. It is quite a miracle and blessing that humans can form a connection so quickly in times of need. What is even more beautiful is the nurse who chose to make this her life path; to help strangers with kindness and compassion in very stressful moments.

Nurses, Doctors, Firemen, Police Officers, Caregivers, are often there for strangers on our most horrible or trying days. The men and women who stand with folks in their community to help them through it all, are very much a blessing to humanity. Not everyone is wired to be able to have a heart, so giving and open, to hold a stranger’s hand even on a regular day with no stress.

Do some people hold more compassion inside then others? I think so. But what I find is that even those of us who aren’t comfortable with unfamiliar people will still offer comfort in times of duress, even if they too are stressed. Is this a characteristic built into our DNA, to care for others when it is most needed? Is it an innate knowing that we are all connected by the spark of God, that brings us all to life? I do not know. But I’d like to think so.

What I do know is that I am very thankful for the nurse who held my hand that day. She kindly offered me comfort and did her best to divert my attention from the surgery happening while we talked. I cannot help but use this scenario as an analogy of life.

It is on our hardest, most challenging days, that we need others help us get through.

Unfortunately, these days aren’t always as obvious as being strapped to an operating table. Sometimes there are strangers walking past us in the grocery store or working in the cubicle right next to you; that are having one of the worst days of their lives. Inner trauma is just as painful as physical trauma, just in a different way.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live heart-centered lives so that others would feel safe in asking; “Will you please hold my hand?” when they need it most?

Even if it is just for a short time, your compassion does make a difference. Kindness is a characteristic that we must practice to be good at. Seeing folks in our community as extended family, instead of strangers, is where we can start. Do unto others and such. Remember, even a kind stranger serving as a short distraction from pain (in any form) can make a huge difference in the world.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

May you find comfort and love all around you. May you have the chance to act as comfort and love to another.

Wishing you an abundance of blessings,

With love,

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

Follow the Adventure Sisters on Facebook!

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com