“Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let them know.” – Elsa from the ever popular Frozen
In honor of everyone’s favorite ice queen returning to the big screen this weekend, let’s talk about vulnerability. If you’re anything like me, you were completely and totally obsessed with Frozen when it first released. Plus, as a former Disney Cast Member, I think I have a valid excuse, haha.
The quote by Elsa perfectly describes the attitude leaders tend to have about letting people into the personal aspects of their life. It can be so easy to just build up the wall to the point where you don’t have to be personally involved.
Easiness = Cowardliness
During my undergrad, I took Student Leadership Development classes by one of the most amazing, leadership professors I’ve ever encountered, Dr. Mike Hayes. I was pushed beyond what I could have imagined. A continuous theme of the class was opening up and being vulnerable. We examined leaders across history who were both vulnerable and put up a facade.
As leaders it can be so easy to put up a facade as if everything is perfect and nothing is going wrong so that we can help those around us who are truly in need. Leaders tend to not want to be thought of as just like everyone else. Because honestly, who wants to be helped by someone who is broken and doesn’t have everything together??? (In case you didn’t catch that… TOTAL SARCASM). We need leaders who are willing to get raw, honest, and down in the dirt with those around them.
Too often, we can get so caught up in helping others fix their problems that we neglect to inwardly reflect on what is going on inside of ourselves. The people in our lives will respect us and benefit even more so if we finally come to the realization that in order for us to be fully effective, we must tear the wall down and be vulnerable. Sharing with others opens you up to a point of vulnerability and they begin to see your heart and passions.
Openness = Vulnerability
Vulnerability = Possible Pain
It takes a lot of self-confidence and self-awareness to look inwards. Once you take a look at yourself, you will be able to help those in your care more effectively. The process may be painful and tedious, but the end results will leave you more fulfilled and satisfied.
This quote perfectly sums it all up, “You never truly understand someone until you see them as a whole. When people inevitably open up completely, you start seeing every shade of them. Not the curated version that is feasible to uphold for an hour, for a lunch date, for a night out, but who they are at 2 a.m. on a particularly rough night or the way they get sick to their stomach when they’re really stressed out, vantage points usually reserved for their bedrooms back home.” It is easy to hide when kept at a distance, but once you become intimate and personal there is nowhere to hide, you must become raw and exposed – REAL.
You never know, the thing you try to hide the most might just be the thing that will help someone else overcome their toughest hurdle, or allow them to finally let go of the chains binding them and run fully into His arms. Your story and struggles may be the example someone needs to continue pushing on. There is no gain in placing yourself on a pedestal above the world. Be careful who you allow into your heart, soul, and mind. There must be a method to the madness. Allowing everyone into the intimate areas of your life can be just as harmful as putting up walls. Choose wisely and use discernment in all things, but learn to let people in to the real you.
Never let the fear of rejection and vulnerability keep you from fulfilling the call God has place on your life. In the words of the ice queen herself, let it go.