I recently posted a video on my Facebook page that had such an overwhelming response, it was humbling to me. Within 24 hours of the video being posted, it went viral and over half a million people saw the video. You can watch the video and read more about that post here.
Since posting this video, I have been tagged by so many of you who have been brave enough to share with me your own #OwnIt moments. What I have learned since posting this video, is that vulnerability is not weakness. When I first posted the video, I felt vulnerable, exposed, and a little bit scared. But, what I have realized, is that people connect most to the posts where I am the most honest and talk about areas that make me feel vulnerable. One of my favorite quotes is from Brene Brown and she says, “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” Brene Brown is an author and speaker whose work has had a significant impact on me. If you haven’t watched her Ted Talk on youtube about the power of vulnerability and shame, go watch it right now.
My hope is that we can get a conversation started on this and take it even one step further. In this video, I really only talked about physical things that might make us feel vulnerable. In the video I talk about how we all have things that we probably wish we could change. It could be something like: a crooked tooth, or a big nose, or long legs, or short legs, etc., but that without some drastic surgery, those kinds of things aren’t going to change. Instead of focusing so much energy on the areas we don’t like, instead to just ‘own’ those things and instead focus on things we do have the ability to change like, for example, the foods we put in our bodies and lifting weights to tone up our arms. In the future, I hope to take this idea one step further, and talk about things beyond just our physical appearance.
We may have something in our past, our background, or the way we were raised that makes us feel vulnerable to talk about. We may have something in our personal history that has shaped the way we look at ourselves in a negative way. I struggled with this for a long time. My mom spent a large part of my teenage years in federal and state prisons. For a very long time, I tried to do as much as possible to overachieve so that no one would find out my family background or guess that I came from a broken home. I never talked about or told anyone about my family situation. Once I got older and opened up and starting admitting that I wasn’t raised in a perfect household, two things happen. First, I was able to build closer and stronger relationships with people when I wasn’t focusing all my energy on trying to appear perfect all the time. And, second, I started gaining a lot of inner self-confidence, and the negative self talk slowed down, when I realized that I didn’t have to hide from my story or upbringing. Once I owned my story, I didn’t feel so held down by it anymore.
Whatever you have gone through in your own life, it may be a nasty divorce your parents went through, an eating disorder you have overcome, an abusive relationship you got out of, a job you got fired from, a family member who passed away, or college classes you failed. There are so many situations that will make up your story. I have found that once I owned those painful experiences, and stopped focusing on how hard it was and how much it hurt me, and instead focused on the things I do have the ability to change and control, my own self talk started improving and it significantly built my self confidence.
I would like to encourage you to share with me your #OwnIt moments. I am going to start sharing each of your #OwnIt moments here on my blog each week. I know that it can feel really scary sharing with the world things that seem vulnerable to you. What I have noticed first hand, however, is that by sharing the areas that you may perceive as weaknesses, it helps give others the strength to find beauty in their perceived weaknesses also, and in the process usually helps you love yourself even more.
I have created an email account and an Instagram account dedicated to sharing these stories. If you would like to be featured on my blog, email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or tag @ownitcampaign on Instagram and use the hashtags #ownit and #ownitcampaign (your profile must be public for us to be able to see it).
Stories that are emailed to me with pictures will have higher priority, and I am looking for a paragraph or two talking about something you may have perceived as a weakness which you have decided to #OwnIt and how you have gotten past it. It can be a physical area, similar to what I showed in my video, or it can be something in your background or past. I am really excited to get the conversation going here.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown
I am looking forward to hearing from you!