Vulnerability: We Need It More Than Ever
By: Edson O’Neale, M.S. (more bio information here: greekuniversity.org/edson)
Who would have thought that we would ever be in a situation where the entire world is shut down? Dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic is like something in a movie. You would think that something like this would never happen in the real world, and look here we are. Schools are shutting down, businesses, sporting events, everything. With everything shutting down, many individuals have lost their jobs, getting their salaries cut, or even getting furloughed. In losing jobs, I am pretty sure you are angry, you are looking to blame everyone under the sun, you are asking yourselves, “Why did this happen to me? I have given so much to this organization and they choose to let me go, Why?” To our high school seniors and college graduates, many of you will not get the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive your diploma. Many of you are angry and are probably wondering why me, why our class, why now? I wish I had the answers for you, but unfortunately I do not. What I can say is that is through these difficult times we are going through we need each other more than ever, and we need to put our egos to the side and be more vulnerable.
Vulnerability, it is tough to do because we do not want to be viewed as being weak, but we fail to realize the power of vulnerability and how empowering it can be. Being vulnerable allows you to be open, be free, and most importantly be yourself. It gives people the opportunity to see who you really are. Now, vulnerability can be tricky and there is no easy way to go through it. Vulnerability will put you through some bad times and can be an emotional roller coaster, but the light at the end of tunnel will be all worth it when you get there. Trust me, I have been through an emotional roller coaster myself dealing with depression, losing my self-confidence, doubting my value, and even thinking about self-harm. As much as COVID-19 has isolated me from the world, I look at this whole situation as a blessing in disguise as I have been able to reflect on my life, my well-being, my value, my goals, and pretty much do a whole life cleansing. I would never had the time to do so before and now that I do it has been refreshing.
After reviewing my life and after reading a few articles and information online about leadership and vulnerability, I came to this conclusion. One quote that caught my eye is a quote by Brene Brown, Ph.D. (professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host) she states “Vulnerability is the core, the heart and center, of meaningful human experience, she defines vulnerability as uncertainty risk and emotional exposure.” That quote resonated with me so much, and I felt when I read it Brene Brown was speaking directly to me. I have definitely been going through an emotional roller coaster for these past few months, and I am pretty sure you all have been going through an emotional roller coaster too. Being home 24/7, applying for jobs, working from home, taking classes from home, not being able to go out and have a good time, not being able to go out to eat when you want to, not being able to go out and hug your friends and loved ones; it can be an emotional roller coaster and you definitely start questioning things. You might feel hopeless, questioning your worth, wondering what is going to happen next, will we ever get through these difficult times, but we need to realize we need each other more than ever and together we will get through these difficult times.
Through these difficult times, I have been reaching out to all of my friends, fraternity brothers, and my family and I have been very open about my depression. I was very hesitant at first, but I must say opening up to people has been phenomenal. The one individual that I was very scared to talk to about it was my dad. I thought he would have not understand and basically tell me to get over it, but after I spoke to him he was very concerned. He asked me what I have been doing to get better, and he told he is there for me and we will get through this together. For me that was a huge breakthrough, so if I have nothing to lose what do you have to lose? Open up more, reach out to individuals you have spoken to in a while, remind people that this too shall pass and that you are there for them, tell them how much you love them, reminisce on the good ole days, take time to reflect on your journey and map it out, take time to read, catch up on things that you haven’t been able to do in a while.
In conclusion, this is the time, take ownership of your life and in doing that pay it forward and help others in the process. We are in a difficult time right now but use this time to invest in yourself and to invest in others. Think about it; when was the last time you actually invested time into yourself and what you really wanted to do? Now is the time, NO EXCUSES! There are so many things we can be doing to keep ourselves going through this epidemic and once this epidemic is over you will be a brand new you! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and if you have any questions or simply want to talk I am here for you. Please see my information at the link below: