Question: What are the ways to feel safe within vulnerability?

I found out recently that the phrase “heart on your sleeve” is, in part, from Shakespeare’s play Othello— we have just conveniently lopped off the other half of the sentence which goes on to say “…for the daws to peck at”.

These words are uttered by one of the most villainous characters in the play, who, in the process of confessing to treacherous acts, remarks that by wearing his heart upon his sleeve, which he says to mean the act of truly exposing himself or opening himself up, he would be inviting crows to peck away at him. As a consequence, he opts to keep his true emotions and intentions hidden.

While the treachery might not be entirely relatable, the idea of opening yourself up to the crows by speaking the truth of your insides might hit closer to home.

In JoyRide this morning, I asked if anyone had anything they would like me to speak to on the podcast, and Leana posted:

Ways to feel safe within vulnerability

I love this as a conversation launch point because there is so much to be said for safeguarding practices around vulnerable experiences and the process of ‘opening up’, the depth of which I only skim the surface of in this episode. Vulnerability has become somewhat of a cultural catchphrase, but the reality of what it takes to be vulnerable- and for that to be truly held- is much more complex and nuanced than perhaps we consider or allow for.

The world is hungry for vulnerability- on social media, in the arts (music, writing, music) etc, in life- but in the midst of the desire for its production and consumption, there is sometimes little to hold it at the other end. In some instances, vulnerability has become yet another commodity, another product ready for consumption without wider conversations around what our collective and community responsibility might be if we find ourselves on the receiving end of vulnerable expression.

On a personal level, vulnerability needs to be shared with discernment. Our energy is precious and to be vulnerable is another level of energy cultivation that can be depleting if not experienced in a context where that same energy is contained, and then beyond that offered back.

With that in mind…

What does it mean to be vulnerable?

How do we share our vulnerability with discernment?

And what is our collective and community responsible for both the vulnerable and vulnerability both?

I hope you enjoy it!

You can listen to the podcast on your favourite podcast app, or by clicking the link below

❤️ Jane

Links referred to in this conversation


Substack & Interwoven: