attitude, Blog, courage, intimacy, Love, trust

“Excavate the Unsaid” – Exploring Vulnerability

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Day 202

“Excavate the Unsaid” is something Brené Brown said on her Netflix special The Call to Courage.

So many people in my circle are huge Brené Brown fans. They listen to all her Ted Talks and have read all her books. When I turned on Netflix last night, I was going in blind.

Coming off of Kyle Cease’s Love Rising videos, I was prepared for something similar, but I found it quite different. Not good or bad, just different.

I found a number of the things she said to be extremely powerful and were real takeaways for me. Learning not to exploit the pain in the people we love was a big one. This is an easy offensive go-to in the heat of a disagreement with someone you care about. It’s like taking the cheap shot. But I had never considered it as exploiting someone else’s pain. That idea requires some stepping back and taking stock of what we do to people we profess to love.

When someone is in pain, why would we want to hurt them further?

The other takeaway for me was “excavating the unsaid”. She gives a really long example of this from her own life which was enough to make the special worth watching. So often we have a story we create in our heads to explain the behavior of someone else. In many cases, the story we create is not based on anything but our imagination. Why isn’t it easier to simply ask for the truth? When we find truth, we find growth.

Digging deep with each other, especially people important in our lives, is essential in understanding. Being vulnerable is not easy, especially if there is no warm and welcoming place that makes you feel safe in being open and raw. Don’t ask someone to be vulnerable if you are unwilling to accept their vulnerability.

Based on my experience, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable has a lot to do with the gender roles we have learned throughout our lives. Men are not supposed to be vulnerable, but women, being the societal ‘weaker sex’, are often seen as vulnerable.

Brené also talks about the chicken and egg scenario when it comes to trust Versus the ability to be vulnerable.

I am glad I watched. I am not ready to go out and buy her books, but I do value what she shared. Each teacher comes into our lives at just the right time I think. Then it is up to us.

Perhaps we can become addicted to self-help trying to make sense of our lives. For me, I listen for the motivation to effect change in my life. Once I have heard the lesson, it is time to put the lessons learned into action. It will not matter how many teachers you have if you do not apply the lessons to your own life.

I would encourage you to watch The Call to Courage. It is a minimal investment of time and who knows, it might be what you need to hear.

Blog, Death, Fear, intimacy, loss, trust

Intimate Trust

Day 106

“You are going to die.”

At some point, many of us will hear those words. We will come face-to-face with preparing for our life to end. It may be a long process or it may be a matter of days or weeks. It will be the day we acknowledge that everything we have known for all the years of our life will one day just stop.

I think there is an intimate trust one develops when facing death. It may be with a complete stranger, a family member, a dear friend, or a caretaker.

The person who cares for your mental and physical needs may see you in a way that, in life, we never wanted to be seen. When we reach the time we cannot physically care for ourselves, we must relinquish control of every need to someone else.

There are all sorts of more materialistic plans such as getting our affairs in order, but I am talking about the caring of body, mind, and spirit.

Sometimes we carry burdens we have buried deeply for years and years. There may be a need to finally speak those things and free ourselves from the weight of them.


There is such responsibility of being the person held in such regard. To hear the anger, fears, regrets, and sometimes secrets of someone’s life is a statement of the most intimate trust.

Hospice nurses always talk about the life review occurring near the very end of death. If there is trust, the vulnerability of one’s life may be shared much earlier–if there is trust.

When someone holds your hand and looks into your eyes, you can feel their need to be freed from what weighs them down.

It can be hard, especially after the person passes. You may feel you have possession of something important and may not know what to do with it.

I have found it is easier to think of this as the reading of the most precious biography. A book crafted with the intimate and personal details of life. It is a story that holds you in its embrace. But at some point, the story comes to an end and the book is closed.

You may always remember the poignant parts of the book but it is not your story and the last chapter has been written. All you can do is be thankful you bore witness to it all.