Living in a generation with an eyes down culture where we are constantly on our phones, it seems so much easier to be vulnerable towards others behind the screen rather than off it. When I reflect on what vulnerability looks like today, it might be in instances where it feels much easier to ask someone out on a date via a direct message online rather than face to face, because most of us are so fearful of being rejected. Or instances when we feel safer to confront another person in an argument online in regards to our feelings and opinions. What does this tell us about ourselves?
Meet Jossy Jimenez,one of our teachers at Laneway Learning. I had the pleasure of meeting Jossy during one of her mindfulness classes, specifically on ‘Vulnerability’ which closely follows the work of Dr Brene Brown, one Monday evening. Dr Brene Brown is a research professor at University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Endowed Chair. Her whole research is based on her studies on courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Dr Brene Brown is also the author of ‘The Power of Vulnerability’. The idea of vulnerability is not often spoken about so I was so intrigued and in awe of her whole practice that I was left wanting even more after her session. She was kind enough to agree and chat more with me afterwards.
“People just want to be heard and I am here to listen.” – Jossy Jimenez
What is your professional background and how did you get into your practice?
Jossy: I am a well-being consultant and I have my Masters in Human Development. Back when I was still studying., this professor came in on the first day of the class and she asked ‘Does anyone know what mindfulness is?’ At the time, I meditated but I was not aware of mindfulness meditation and I was so intrigued because this professor was so light and so real. She seemed so free and so content in her own body and and I wanted to be like that. That was the start of my whole practice.
What were your initial thoughts on vulnerability and how have they changed?
Jossy: Completely. Back then, I first thought vulnerability was weakness. I am a recovering perfectionist and a people pleaser, and that’s all armour. We blame, we judge and we criticize all the time. That is what we do when we don’t want to feel vulnerable. According to Brene Brown’s research, she says that “Blame is a discharge of pain and discomfort”. When we have too much pain and discomfort, we blame. I am a very different person back then compared to now.
Do you ever struggle with being vulnerable yourself?
Jossy: All the time. Brene Brown says something that really resonated with me. She says that, “Vulnerability is like getting in the arena and when you get in the arena, you never know how is it going to go. There is no guarantee.” At this stage of my life, I am very clear of the person I want to be.
Speaking to Jossy Jimenez, she shares with me a snapshot of what Vulnerability is NOT:
Myth #1: ‘Vulnerability is weakness.’
This is a dangerous myth. Jossy explains more as she quotes Brene Brown’s work, “To be human is to be vulnerable.” Saying that vulnerability is weakness is also saying that feelings is weakness. We are human and we are going to feel stuff.
Myth #2: ‘I don’t do Vulnerability.’
This is in instances where we say that ‘I don’t do vulnerability because I’m a lawyer. Or, I don’t do Vulnerability because I am a police officer. I don’t do vulnerability because I am a dad.’ Jossy explains that we are all human and we are going to bump into discomfort and uncertainty. If we don’t embrace either one of these, vulnerability is going to do you.
Myth #3: ‘Vulnerability is letting it all hang out.’
This is the belief that vulnerability means telling everyone almost everything, what you are going through and how you are feeling. Jossy says that this is not vulnerability. We only share our story with the people who have earned the right to hear our story and can bear the weight of our story. Vulnerability without boundaries is not vulnerability.
Myth #4: ‘We can go at it alone.’
Jossy shares that Brene Brown talks about how we look at people in our society who are independent in high regard. However, doing things on our own can be lonely and depressing. We all need support, and to ask for support requires us to be brave – and to be brave requires for us to be vulnerable. As Brene Brown said, “The true friends in your life will support you and be there with you no matter what the outcome.”
I learned from Jossy that we are all a work in progress and that is okay. Being vulnerable is not as scary as it seems, and we should embrace more of it to allow ourselves to live more authentically. As Dr Brene Brown once said, “I believe that vulnerability – the willingness to be “all in” even when you know it can mean failing and hurting – is brave.” Thank you Jossy and Dr Brene Brown, I want to start living your words from now on.
Christine Alcorin is a Melbourne University student studying her Masters in Primary Education. She enjoys cooking and doodling, as well as, a good cup of coffee.
This article was written and produced as part of the CREATE Media Arts Internship Program.
Laneway Learning has partnered with The Mentorship to deliver this exciting new program to support young people aspiring to work within the creative media and arts sectors.