Power of Vulnerability

The Background

The most significant personal risk I ever had to take was essentially “whistle blowing” (also called tattle tailing by adults) after weeks of watching a close family member suffer from a drug addiction. Day after day, I noticed symptoms and the increasing disconnection with a decent quality life that put my brother in a chokehold. He had no meaning or consistency in his life, he was dishonest with himself and others, he didn’t respect his own values or others’, and just overall had dug himself into a very deep crater. He could steal something and be completely blind to the fact that it could be valuable to someone else, or hurt someone with words without even knowing. It finally reached the point where I was in the best position to come out and say something to my parents, as he was able to conceal many of the symptoms and wasn’t around a whole lot. As I knew the most about the situation, I was put in a risky situation where if I came forward and presented the factual truth, I would potentially face consequences from my brother and our relationship may be damaged. As I deeply value the relationship I have with him, I started to notice how his belief that he was invulnerable to reality was causing more and more disconnect between he and I, the rest of his family and his other relationships. I saw firsthand that when someone thinks that they are invulnerable to the real struggles and obstacles in life, they are prone to shame themselves and use methods to alter those negative feelings and this leads to seemingly every weakness being brought out.

What I Learned

I learned throughout a brutal process of trying to remodel the horrid lifestyle of a loved one and beginning to replace it with a more real, productive, and fully satisfactory lifestyle, that the process all begins with “being vulnerable”, which is holding yourself accountable for your own actions, and being reasonable with yourself when something goes awry. When people struggle facing reality, I think that Brene Brown’s concept of making yourself vulnerable and facing your weaknesses/fears is obviously very effective in overcoming these struggles. If my brother was never forced to face those struggles head on, then the shame of knowing that he was digging himself deeper and deeper, along with the building fear of changing habit, would have engulfed him and he could have eventually been without a home or worse. After watching Brown talk about vulnerability, I realize that without knowing your fears and weaknesses and actively trying to acknowledge them and improve, you will be uncomfortable and unsuccessful in reaching your goals.

Going Forward

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My brother is currently living in Carbondale, Colorado and is an outdoor adventure guide for a local rehabilitation center, as well as manager of the pro shop at the local mountain course, Iron Bridge. His lifestyle has drastically changed since I stepped in a few months into his downturn and made a decision to alert my parents about this problem instead of letting it continue t0 go under the radar. The biggest difference in my brother’s lifestyle before and after, is that he is now accepting of his downfall, and now has a much greater sense of respect for himself, his future, and his interests – fashion, sports, and the outdoors. This leads to more honesty and accountability in everyday decision making – and good decisions are ultimately rewarded with satisfaction and happiness. Overall, being more vulnerable will lead to stronger and more enjoyable relationships as life goes on, as loving and interacting with a full and honest heart is second to none!

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9 thoughts on “Power of Vulnerability

  1. It can be hard to whistle blow; especially when it’s on a close family member. I respect your decision to do so because it must have been very difficult making yourself vulnerable during your brother’s time. If you hadn’t stepped in, I’m sure his life would be a lot different than it is now. I hope all is well for the both of you!

  2. I understand the struggle of trying to help someone struggling with an addiction. It can be very hard to call them out for their issue and help them seek help, but ultimately it is the right decision and can be the difference between them staying alive and not.

    1. Yeah, it can be really tough to turn what you really want to communicate into words. I’ve noticed that it is pretty amazing what a simple change of pace and environment can do to change someone’s life in a big way.

  3. Hey Noah, I’m so sorry to hear about this difficult situation you encountered. But it sounds to me like you handled it perfectly in the end and I’m sure your brother is very thankful to you for essentially opening his eyes. I couldn’t agree more with you that loving and interacting with a full heart is very crucial to a happy life!

  4. Hey Noah,

    That is an incredibly difficult situation to be in and I think it is so awesome that you took it into your own hands to step in even though certain things were at risk. I always thought of whistle blowing as something related to the corporate world but this definitely changed that perspective with a powerful story.

    Sometimes we need our loved ones to help us out of those deep holes in life and I am glad you saw that something had to be done. It is awesome to hear how well he is doing now, I’m sure he is very thankful to you. I hope your relationship is stronger than ever.

    1. Thanks Lia,
      It is pretty cool to see someone you love like that make such a significant positive turnaround in their life after all they needed was a little someone to come through and show they truly cared. He needed motivation to make some big changes. And if the problem kept getting neglected, who knows what could have happened!
      Sometimes we don’t have time to wait to step in.

      I just wanted to make the sound legitimate and was an opportunity to include a link with something related to business, haha.

  5. Wow Noah,
    That was an incredible story. I’m sorry that you were put in that hard position. I know it’s tough when you love someone and know they are going to get mad at you for only helping them.

  6. I was really moved by your story Noah. As someone who has witnessed some of my own family member’s struggles with substance abuse, I can’t imagine what that ordeal must have been like, it is a real testament to your values. That is an incredible story and so glad to hear of the positive changes for your family.

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