Vulnerability: lessons from writing on living (with help from Brene Brown)

I wrote a memoir manuscript once. It wasn’t very good. I could tell when one of the teen readers I work-shopped it with scrunched up her nose and said she just didn’t connect with the voice. Years later I finally understand what it was lacking.

It’s the same thing that makes ‘evil-doing’ characters into ones that I like and in doing so, add an amazing depth to the stories they live in: vulnerability. And according to Brene Brown, it can do a lot more than enrich my latest novel–they can enrich my life.

In her TED Talk on human connection, Brown states that being emotionally vulnerable—saying I love you first, initiating sex with your partner—is the sole determiner between feeling loved, connected, and confident in yourself and well…not.

While I may be quick with professions of adoration, I definitely hesitation to be vulnerable in many other ways. Saying I don’t agree with something. Saying I don’t want to do something. Critique.

In the end, holding emotions in only leads to not liking myself for it, so like my old manuscript, I think I’m going to have to open myself a little wider from now on—and let a little of the that stuff in. I may just become a better person for it.

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