Vulnerability in Action: Three New Ways to Think About Vulnerability

Vulnerability as an Active Way to Grow, Understand, and Feel Alive

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

About two months ago, I wrote three of four different articles on vulnerability. I was, obviously, at that time, very present to the impact vulnerability can have on my life, our lives.

I think this is especially so when we are aware of and think about vulnerability a little bit differently. And?

Well, then this morning, I had another insight. Hence this new article. Let’s take a look at vulnerability once more, and from a new vantage point. Ready? Good.

vulnerability

noun  /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/ /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/[uncountable]

vulnerability (of somebody/something) (to something) the fact of being weak and easily hurt physically or emotionally

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Alright. Now, as I’ve written before, I understand why vulnerability is defined as it is, yet I see and experience vulnerability completely differently today.

Let’s explore three of the ways I experience vulnerability in this article. Ultimately, I believe, vulnerability leads us to new possibilities. New ways of being. Bottom line. Truly. And, here are three reasons why.

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Vulnerability as Growth

When we enter into situations or create contexts that are vulnerable, we are instantaneously navigating a space that is full of growth opportunities.

Being vulnerable is about growing. In fact, growth is impossible without the ability to be vulnerable. Why?

Because it is in the areas that we fear to go most that our largest measure of growth awaits us. Truly. And?

That growth potential already exists within you. It is there. Awaiting you. Now, you can leave it there, if you choose.

There is absolutely no issue with not practicing vulnerability, and it is not a problem at all. However, to really be alive, to feel alive in every aspect of your being, you must allow yourself at times to be vulnerable, and to grow as a result of that vulnerability.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to take up every vulnerable situation, or continuously create vulnerable contexts for yourself to grow. Really.

Rather, being mindful about vulnerability simply means taking a vulnerable step. One at a time.

I think sometimes people think it is an all or nothing proposal, or approach to vulnerability they must choose from. You must be vulnerable all the time to grow, all day everyday. Not so. That is daunting, and, well, impractical and quite scary. Nope.

If you are looking to add more vulnerability into your life as a way to grow yourself, take one step at a time. One vulnerable moment at a time. And?

Before long you will find that you are adding another vulnerable moment to the previous one; and that my friends is growing.

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Vulnerability as Understanding

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we also gain a much deeper understanding of ourselves. And, as we learn more about ourselves, we also learn more about everyone around us, and all of humanity. Why?

Because to be vulnerable means to feel things that we’ve resisted or avoided feeling. For instance, to feel and be with the fear or anxiety we have about doing something or talking to someone.

When we face those fears, step into them, and work through them, we learn. And, inside of that learning, we get to know more about how our minds work, how our feelings work.

And, as we learn more about our own mind and emotions, we can readily understand how other people think and feel that much more.

There is a measure of grace and compassion that grows within you as you practice your own vulnerability. Really.

Photo by Yuriy Yosipiv on Unsplash

Vulnerability as Active

Though vulnerability is labeled a noun, I see it as a verb. I do believe that being vulnerable is about being active. Taking action in our own lives, entering into situations that stretch us, and creating contexts where we can grow.

Again, though I see vulnerability as active, we create those actions and can choose when and how often we practice our own vulnerability.

The notion that vulnerability is about weakness in any area is an outdated concept, both psychologically and sociologically.

What is known psychologically is that the brain is very plastic, flexible. Meaning, that throughout life we have the ability to create new brain patterns, which are simply manifestations of new habits. Seriously.

Yes, you can change your brain patterns by creating new habits. Yep. In fact, you can argue, as would I, that creating new habits is a practice in vulnerability.

In fact, we could say that vulnerability, the act of being vulnerable in situations we know little about so we can learn and grow, is creating a new brain pattern.

Photo by Ron Whitaker on Unsplash

Yep. And, as you continue to take those vulnerable actions, that brain pattern, or groove in the brain becomes deeper.

Which is why as you practice being vulnerable it becomes easier, or, rather, you become more comfortable doing something that is, and can be quite uncomfortable.

And, sociologically, we know that as we practice vulnerability with others, we gain a new understanding of who they are as human beings. Which from a sociological perspective is very important.

The more we understand each other, the better we communicate and relate to each other; both of which are very important sociological concepts.

Alright. Well, that was so much fun, I might create a series out of the topic of vulnerability. We will see.

Please remember, being vulnerable and practicing vulnerability is about growth, understanding, and being in action in life. And, guess what? Like everything in life you create, you also create when you want to be and or how often you practice vulnerability. And?

No matter what you choose that’s just fine. You are whole and complete just as you are.

Practicing vulnerability is not about changing who we are; being vulnerable and practicing vulnerability is about experiencing life in all of it’s pains and pleasures. Because in the end, both pain and pleasure are about being alive.

#active, #beingalive, #feelingalive, #growth, #humandevelopment, #mindfulness, #psychology, #selfdevelopment, #sociology, #understanding, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityasactive, #vulnerabilityasalive, #vulnerabilityasunderstanding, #vulnerablityasgrowth

The Social Construction Series Part 5: The Social Construction of Time

7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

How often do you run from here to there, and back, checking the clock on the wall, in the kitchen, on your wrist, or on your phone? Yep, normal, we all do it, or, rather, have done it.

Time is such an important part of our life. We construct our whole lives, in fact, around it. Yep. Time. When we get up, when we eat, when we work, how we work, when we sleep. All of it.

Yet, time also provides people with tons of stress and anxiety. Really. How often have you said, or heard, or both, there’s just not enough time in the day? Yep. We’ve all said it, say it, and have heard many, or, rather, most people say it.

Phew. It’s tiring. Really.

I remember a time in my life where I was more concerned about what time it was, then about what I was doing with my time. Maybe you can relate?

Either way, time is not what we think it is.

Time is actually socially constructed. Meaning, it doesn’t even really exist, except for that we create it, agree upon it, and as has been aforementioned, organize our lives around it.

A social construction, you ask? Sure. Here you go.

social construct

Pronunciation /ˌsəʊʃl ˈkɒnstrʌkt/

NOUN

A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.

Lexico

There we go.

Now, time, you ask? Well, I think we can all agree upon the definition of time, yet, let’s go ahead and define it anyway. Here you go.

time

Pronunciation /tīm/ /taɪm/ 

Translate time into Spanish

NOUN

The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.‘travel through space and time’

1.1 The progress of time as affecting people and things.‘things were getting better as time passed’

1.2 Time or an amount of time as reckoned by a conventional standard.‘it’s eight o’clock Eastern Standard Time’

1.3 The personification of time, typically as an old man with a scythe and hourglass.‘Power began to flow out from Father Time’s scythe.’

Lexico

That’s fun.

Alright, so here’s what we have so far.

A social construction is something that is constructed and agreed upon by a group of people, of which time, as in the continued progress of existence and events as in the past, present, and future, is one. Phew.

You may now ask, well, there is a past, present, and future, therefore time exists. Yet, I would invite you to really think about that. Does the past really exist, or the future for that matter?

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Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Think about what you are doing right now. Does the past exist in the present moment? Does the future? Nope. They don’t.

The only thing that ever really exists is the present moment. Right now; and, then right now, and now. That’s it.

Therefore time is in many ways irrelevant, an illusion actually. Yet, we continue to create our whole lives around it. Pretty powerful.

You may now be saying. Okay. Fine. Yet, why is understanding time as a social construction important? Very well.

Let’s take a look at

7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

1. Increased Flexibility

When we hold time as a social construct, we are more flexible because we understand that there is an infinite amount of time to do all that we’d like to do. Really.

We become more flexible as we continue to consider time as something that we can choose to release ourselves from. We know at a different level that, yes, we need to move our work and lives forward, however, we also know that there is plenty of time to do so.

2. Less Stress

As we become more flexible, holding the awareness that time is socially constructed, which takes practice, we then realize that we can release the stress that we create about time-bound situations and events. Yep.

We can release that stress, and replace it with a renewed interest in being present. Present to everything in our lives, in each and every moment. Precious.

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Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

3. Reduced Anxiety

Holding time within ourselves differently, which creates less stress, also reduces our overall anxiety levels. There are so many people on this planet that have high levels of anxiety.

Yes, about lots of things, yet, considering time as one of the most important aspects of our lives causes a ton of that stress and, yep, related anxiety.

Yet, releasing that time-bound stress, releases the anxiety. Very helpful.

4. Greater Understanding

We also learn more about ourselves, and then have a greater understanding of, yes, ourselves, and about all people. We can connect with people on another level entirely. Why?

Because, we have connected to ourselves on an entirely different level. It works that way. We become more aware of our time-bound habits, and then can see them more clearly in ourselves and in others. Helpful.

5. More Grace

As we are more aware of our own behaviors related to time, and practice releasing the stress and anxiety that develops as a product of time-bound thinking, we can give ourselves more grace. And?

We can also extend that grace to others. If there is one thing on this planet we can all us more of, it’s grace. Given to ourselves and to each other. Important.

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Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

6. Deeper Compassion

Along with granting ourselves more grace, we also develop a deeper level of compassion for the human condition. Most all of us are socialized to place importance on time.

With that knowledge, we can release ourselves from any blame or shame for the stress we’ve caused ourselves and others at the expense of time-bound thinking and acting.

And, as we deepen the compassion we have for ourselves, we also deepen the compassion we can extend toward others. Lovely.

7. More Peace

With our practice of holding time differently in our awareness, we also have more peace. More peace about all aspects of our lives that we once associated with time-bound situations and events, and the associated outcomes, or results.

And, when we have more peace, we can also extend that peace out to everyone. Phew. That is important.

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Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

Alright, there are 7 Reasons Why Considering Time as a Social Construction is Important to Your Life. Fun.

Remember, time is only important, when we create that importance. I’m not saying that we don’t take our commitments and agreements that are time-bound seriously.

Those time-bound commitments and agreements are very important. My days are full of them; and, I mean full. All day, every day.

Yet, we don’t have to associate time-bound commitments and agreements with a stressful conception of time. It’s a paradox, like most things in life.

You can both hold time as a socially constructed illusion and as an important aspect of your life in regard to meeting our commitments and agreements.

It is really in between the two, considering ourselves as bound in time and not, where you have the power to live, laugh, and love with less stress and anxiety, and way more flexibility, understanding, grace, compassion, and peace.

Be well. Consider well.

#anxiety, #compassion, #flexibility, #grace, #humandevelopment, #peace, #philosophy, #selfimprovement, #socialconstruct, #socialconstruction, #sociology, #stress, #timeasanillusion, #timeasasocialconstruction, #understanding

An Insight From the Newly Developed Site: About the Head and the Heart

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This weekend I reimagined the covid-19 creativity site and in its place created jefflesch.com. Why? It was time. When I originally created the COVID-19 site, I had no idea that I would end up writing all that I have.

It’s been a wonderful experience, one that will continue well into the future, as I have lots more to to tell you all about, and to discuss with you. 🙂

As I was reimagining the site I had an insight. Before we get to the insight, however, I am going to recreate the distinction between the head and the heart to aid in communicating this insight. Ready? Here we go.

About the Head and the Heart

I’ve written about the head (intellect) and heart (intuition) many times on this site. Sometimes, I’ve used head and heart, sometimes I’ve used intellect and intuition. The distinction? Alright.

When we use our head, we are leading with our intellect. That which we understand to be true about the world.

We’ve acquired some of this understanding from our parents and caretakers; and, some has come from schools, friends, and coworkers. Really anyone we have in our life.

On the other hand, when we use our intuition, we are leading with our heart. That which we know to be true about the world.

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Do you see the distinction?

With intellect we understand something to be true, and with intuition, we know it to be true. When we intuit something, we have a deep feeling that that something is true, or right. Or just as easily, wrong and false.

An important distinction.

The more you are connected to your intuition, the more accurate the knowing will be. If, however, you’ve been disconnected from your intuitive-self, the knowing can be more challenging. I would know.

Though my intuition has always been with me, for a long time, it was suppressed. Covered up by other things, like food and alcohol. Not the case today.

Alright, that’s the distinction. Now the insight? Alright, here we go.

An Insight From the Newly Developed Site

As I’ve written about before, I now work in education. I’ve worked in education full-time for the past 5 years, and combined with my part-time work, it’s been over 13 years. Long time.

Prior to going back to school at 33, I worked in the private sector, in sales and sales leadership. 16 years. Also a long time.

In my current job, I get to use both my practical work experience, and my educational experience. It’s a ton of fun.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

When I developed the leadership site, which is now no more, and the COVID-19 site, I didn’t realize I was actually creating an intellectual site and an intuitive site. No idea. Super cool insight.

As I reimagined and then created my website this weekend, it occured to me that the newly formulated site is a combination of both my head (intellect) and heart (intuition). I think that’s pretty cool.

Though it was never my intention to create two sites, one focused on my intellect, and one focused on my heart, it just sort of happened that way. What excites me most now?

That I now get to give you everything I’ve got. Both my head and my heart, right here. Exciting.

Alright, that’s the insight alongside the distinction about the head and the heart. Oh, one more thing.

Know that the head and heart, though separated in this post intentionally, are really one. They are connected, and work together, even when our intuition is covered up by other things.

What fun this journey has been. And, as the first chapter comes to an end, this next chapter is going to be so much fun. I look forward to writing to you, and discussing all with you.

Be well.

#emotionalintelligence, #head, #head-and-heart, #heart, #insight, #intellect, #intuition, #knowing, #understanding, #understandingversusknowing