A few thoughts on this format:
I have tried multiple times to participate in online book studies and found them either too fast or too slow to really be able to fit for me. In hopes of ameliorating that problem for others I designed this so that years later, someone could happen upon this study, and participate at whatever pace is comfortable for them. Those of you starting off with me, will have to be patient with my pace, as while i read a lot, my time on the computer is and should be limited!
Right now on my comments i've disallowed "anonymous" comments, but i'll reinstate them if need be.
I prefer to not have anonymous responses, because i'd really like for us to get to know one another, relate to each other, etc. But understanding that online is forever and you may not be willing to be so honest if you can't be anonymous, I'd love it if you could come up with a stage name, like "fairygirl" or something like that and use it consistantly. That way we can get to know you, but you can still maintain a level of anonymity.
Please feel free to email me, my email is in my profile now, if you aren't able to make up a pseudonym and reply. I'm not exactly sure if anon. needs to be enabled to do that.
1. In the opening to the introduction, Dr. Brown speaks of vulnerability in terms like, "excruciating" and "complicated." How do you feel about vulnerability. What comes to mind when you hear "vulnerability?"
For me, I have a mixed response. I'm a really odd person, in that I was hurt a lot for most of my life, and SHOULD be hardened enough to not trust people, but for some reason I do. I don't know why, and i think its a mixed bag. On the one hand, i'm soft- i'm compassionate and caring and let people "in" which is critical to having healthy relationships. On the other hand, I lack boundaries to keep myself safe so i tend to get hurt MORE as a result of that. As a result, how i'd feel about vulnerability varies based on how recently I've been badly hurt.
2. The therapist describes vulnerability as "exquisite." Can you picture that? Can you feel the "exquisite" in vulnerability?
Yes. I am very vulnerable as a person, as any reader of my blog can tell, and I have been both burned and blessed by that openness. I have found that for me, vulnerability has stretched the experience both negative and positive, in other words, my "exquisites" are, I suspect, vastly more exquisite than those who do not embrace vulnerability and my "excruciatings" are also more excruciating. Provided i'm not just "doing it wrong" I suspect that's what a general feeling of vulnerability feels like. You are open to much more joy but also much more pain.
3. What do you make of Dr. Brown's quote-
"Connection is why we are here. We are hardwired to connect with others. It's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it, there is suffering."
I agree. I think though, that its a double edged sword. There's also suffering when you do connect closely with others, just by virtue of the fact that humans are HUMAN. We hurt people, sometimes intentionally, sometimes otherwise. Is it worth it? I think so.
4. Wholehearted. What are your thoughts on wholeheartedness? What do you think about worthiness and how it plays into the ability of one to be whole hearted? Do YOU feel like a worthy person? Do you struggle with seeing yourself as worthy of what you have?
Hmm... this one is hard. I struggle with worthiness, but overall I think I've overcome this issue... but it creeps back in every once in a while. I have general self esteem issues so perhaps i'm not even clear with myself on whether i find myself worthy. I was abused as a child, which greatly colored my perception of myself, and 19 years into adulthood, i overall know the truth about who I am, but still occasionally find myself slipping into old thought patterns. I think that worthiness absolutely enables one to be wholehearted.
5. Dr. Brown speaks of being concerned about how being vulnerable would reflect on her in her profession. Do you have any obstacles to being vulnerable? if so, what are they?
I find that for me, being vulnerable means hurting others, and being really empathetic, i have a hard time with that. Also I struggle with not wanting to lose friends. So my tendency is to withhold the real me, out of respect to others and their feelings, and out of the fear of being rejected. I'm struggling with that now. I am choosing to BE vulnerable, while being gentle as possible, but i'm choosing to not pretend anymore. I am who I am. If others don't like it, that is their choice. If others choose to not want to be friends with me, that too is their choice. I feel like my worth is much greater when I AM vulnerable, honest, and real.
6. If you are a parent, as a general rule, are you engaged?
Oh wow. This one is super hard for me, because if I'm truthful with myself, i'd admit that no. Most of the time I'm NOT engaged with my children. I tend to sleepwalk through life, just weathering the storms and trying to keep everyone alive. Life is difficult right now, but I will say that when I AM engaged, the rewards are out of this world. I need to make more of an effort to be more engaged.