To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your dreams, ideas before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave: they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is truly free.
This has been a favorite poem of mine since I was in high school. The part that stands out to me each time I read it is "appearing the fool." Oh, how many times in my life have I made myself look like the biggest fool! It seems to define who I am.
Last fall my friend, Heidi, told me about a Ted-Talk called, "The Power of Vulnerability." I looked it up to listen to again today.
The concepts Dr. Brown lays out here are comforting because I have often viewed my vulnerability as something to be ashamed of... but she says that in her studies, she has found over and over again that vulnerability is also the "birthplace of connection" of being whole-hearted and loving more fully. She says, "In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen."
If being vulnerable is the key to human connection... then I'll take that risk - no matter how many times I might appear the fool. I value connection so much more than I value my image.
Keep on keepin' on my friends but most importantly.... never be afraid to be real. It's worth it.
-Alicia (Keepin' it Real)