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Can we all just agree on something? Just go ahead and admit it right here, right now?

We have a lot more in common with each other than we realize, and it’s only through openness and vulnerability that we can experience the acceptance and camaraderie of our shared realities.

So…I was thinking we could make a game of it. Kinda like a Facebook version of “Truth or Dare,” which I’ve never actually played or quite understood, and was always too scared to play…but for some reason it came to mind. Maybe because this is a little bit of a dare, I suppose…not to scare you or embarrass you, but to spur you toward a shame-free life and the utter relief of honesty and vulnerability.

Come on, it’ll be fun. {Yeah, right…} Here’s how you play: I’ll go first, and admit something {appropriate for a public forum, of course} that’s true for me that I don’t usually admit because I’m either embarrassed or ashamed by it. Then you LIKE it if it’s true for you, too…or admit something of your own as a COMMENT. The next player then gets a turn to either LIKE or COMMENT…and on it goes until we see just how widespread and common our embarrassing admissions are, and begin to notice less shame attached to them. Make sense? You in?

Good. OK, so I sort of already took my turn by admitting that I can be a little slow to understand certain kinds of information {or punch lines to jokes, for that matter}, and have spent much of my life trying to avoid embarrassing myself by pretending that I understood things (and punch lines) that I really didn’t, then lived in fear of being found out. A little wordier than yours needs to be, but just wanted you to get the picture.

Now…your turn.  And, just so you know…I’m well aware that my little “game” might be anything but simple or fun for you. In fact, I can actually feel your butterflies right now, or maybe they’re my own after admitting something that has seriously been a source of shame in my life. So start small. Take baby steps. It is scary at first, but I guarantee you, there will be a feeling of relief when you share something you thought you had to hide, and then find out that other people “LIKE” what you admitted because they have experienced their own versions of the exact same thing.

It’s why we love Brené Brown, and why her 2010 TED talk on the power of vulnerability has been viewed over 16 million times, making it one of the most watched talks on  She breaks through the shame factor for us, admitting things in her own life that are true for all of us, even sharing specific shame moments that sound a lot like our own. Then, as a research professor, presents her findings that empirically verify just how universal shame and fear of vulnerability are.

If you’re not familiar with this groundbreaking, shame-busting work, do yourself a 20-minute favor and boost her TED talk views by a few more. Check out her books, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t), Daring Greatly, and others. I predict you’ll be boosted, too, by that wonderful feeling of relief that comes with finding out that other people feel the same way you do, and you really can dare to let yourself be known and your hidden truths found out.

A dare is actually defined as a challenge to be brave and take a risk, and when it’s delivered by people who love and care about us, carries a completely different connotation from the original game of “Truth or Dare” that intentionally puts the participants in embarrassing and dangerous situations. (No wonder I hated that game!) But when loving people challenge us to walk in truth, that quality or state of being true (accurate, true to life, faithful, telling it like it is), then it’s for the purpose of inspiring courage in us so that truth can set us free to live the life we honestly long for and were created to live. There’s not a person alive who doesn’t really and truly, deep down inside, want to live a life marked by truth, daring, and impact. And there’s not a person alive who doesn’t need help from supportive family and friends to dare to do what it takes to admit and fulfill that dream.

Oh, is it my turn? OK…I totally LIKE the previous two sentences. I do want to live a life like that, and I need a lot of help to do it. And here’s one more just for practice. Whose idea was this anyway?

COMMENT: I’m a little nervous about posting this for some reason, but because I live in a loving, supportive Unbridled community that dares me to be brave and honest and impactful, I’m doing it anyway, butterflies and all…and hope you LIKE it.

Can I get a few LIKES please?

Love Julie

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