By Katarina Terzić Conrad, Ph.D.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” Brene Brown
These are the kind of photos I was terrified of posting in the past.
Growing up, I watched my mom pencil in her plucked light eyebrows. I guess, once upon a time, thin eyebrows were in style. And when the style changed, she had none left, and the few hairs that were left were so light you could not even see them.
So, she continued to pencil them in to this day. Her best friend became a black eye pencil, a makeup tool she never left anywhere without.
I not only inherited her light eyebrows and light greenish-blue eyes, but her fear of being seen as I am.
For a long time, I would not go anywhere without a waterproof mascara, so I could always darken my light eyebrows. I even contemplated to tattoo my eyebrows so that I don’t worry about it anymore. I too was terrified of people seeing me with my light eyebrows.
However, my boys and husband have always told me that they preferred my natural look way more to my made up look. I thought that was sweet of them to say, but did not believe it. They were my family.
Well, it took time, reflection, and a change of heart and mind to see myself through their eyes.
Not long ago, I decided to liberate myself from this fear. First, I started letting my friends see me as I am. Then the world came next. I was finally ready to be vulnerable and be seen. I started focusing on the light that was shining within me, the light we all posed. The kind that shines brighter than our physical appearance.
And I swear the more I focused my attention on the god like aspect of my being, attributes like love, compassion, kindness, inner peace, wisdom, knowledge, and generosity, the more I felt energized, youthful and vibrant, more accepting of myself and others, more at peace with the unpredictable world.
I also liberated myself of dependence on makeup, “special” facial creams, “magic” lotions, and anything else promising wrinkle-free and youthful skin.
I think the secret to our radiance is in keeping our hearts pure, filled with love and gratitude. Maintaining a calm mind. And exercising our bodies. And ridding ourselves of anger, impatience, intolerance, resentment, shame, guilt, and judgement.
We should often reflect and ask ourselves: what are our deepest fears? Why we fear? What is behind this fear? Where does that fear come from? What are we really afraid of? And then we ought to sincerely pray for help in shifting our perspective. Gaining a new mindset. The kind that let us see our True Self.
Today, I am finding courage to be vulnerable. Will you join me? 😃