Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Uncertainty, Risk, and Emotional Vulnerability

   Some weeks ago my high school piano students performed in a recital together. The senior played seven pieces to show her achievement over a decade of practice. I had them together in a rehearsal and talked to them about uncertainty, risk, and emotional vulnerability. When asked if they would rather not perform they all agreed they would pass. But, I pressed on them the idea that I was providing them with an experience that could help them grow. I encouraged them to be "all in"; to show the audience the depth of their feelings. That moment passed before my eyes again as yesterday I had such an experience.

     Yesterday afternoon I prepped to look acceptable on camera. I was uncertain if I would get to Skype with my e-course instructor during our Question and Answer broadcast. During the process of being interviewed I had to make a choice as to whether I would allow myself to embrace this opportunity or whether I would play it cool and prepare to be dumped at the end. The difference would be in how much energy I would expend. The hour before the broadcast I was talking to the director as he positioned me in front of my computer many times. He would make small talk to release the tension of waiting and anticipating. I was able to see the broadcast and still hear the director's instructions in the background. Brené Brown was suddenly there starting the show. She is so friendly and energetic. The director informed me I would be the first call and told me he would signal me just before I appeared on the camera. Right then my vulnerability sky-rocketed. But, too late to panic I heard him count off 5 and there she was saying hello. Do you know how hard it is to listen to someone as you see your face splattered next to theirs? She was talking to me and expecting me to banter back and forth. I kept bringing my mind back to the moment. The miracle was she answered an important question I did not know would be discussed.

   Why do we get push back from others when we choose to work on ourselves?  Are we self- indulgent and self- absorbed when we try avenues of growth and change? Brené's answer made absolute sense. Others judge us when they see their own weaknesses under attack. The only way to address a critic, especially one close to us, is to kindly suggest that they might try to open a channel for growth in themselves. So there I was learning even under heightened sensory stimulation. It may be difficult to watch the rebroadcast but I am so grateful for this experience. And by the way, the people who work for Oprah's OWN network are so kind and professional. They called exactly when they said they would and thanked ME for spending my time with them. You should read "The Gifts Of Imperfection" by Brené Brown.

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