The Scarcity of Vulnerability

I learned something big this last week. Something that, well…has led me to feel a little reckless. A little wild. A little uninhibited.

It’s put a fearless twinkle in my eye, that, I’ve gotta be honest: I’m not mad at.

I’m not sure what exactly was in the water this week in NYC — probably a lot of things that I would rather not know — but twice in the last three days, I have shared my story openly with people.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m revisiting my speech, as I’m working on the talk I’m giving in Pennsylvania at a conference in March. Maybe I was inspired by the Taylor Swift documentary. Or maybe I’m just flat out accepting myself, but two different times, when someone asked about my blog – I told them the whole truth: that it is about overcoming anorexia, and the role my faith has played in my recovery.

And here’s what I’ve learned — people appreciate vulnerability.

I don’t need to tell you how surface level the world is. How everyone exists publicly in this facade-projected existence, presenting a “reality” that everything is perfect – Everything is fine – Everything is flawless.

No one shares the real. The raw. The messy and blemished reality below that curated surface.

And when you do share that unfiltered realness with people — they take note.

To my surprise, when I shared my past with these two people, I was not met with judgement, nor was I scoffed at in disapproval at my ugly history.

But rather, just the opposite: they were a) not only validated that I chose to share my heart with them, but b) moved by my story.

I think so often, we can become so close to our story — so entrenched in it — that we miss the forest for the trees.

For me, when I share about the anorexia in my past, all I think about is how messed up I was. How destructive, manipulative, and horrible a person I was. I view my past through a lens of shame.

But that’s on me.

When others hear my story, they are listening from an entirely different place.

I was reminded of this when I was talking to my parents this weekend.

I was telling them how I shared my history with these people, and how I was having second thoughts about being so open. I think at one point I even said, “They’re never going to want to associate with this basket case ever again.

And my dad simply said, “It is your past and you have overcome it. It speaks to your strength.”

Every single one of us has a story. And I think we can let our own mental filters color how we see it — through shame, through hurt, through disappointment or guilt or anger or betrayal — you name it.

Our judgment of our own history can be skewed by unresolved emotion, which can prevent us from sharing it.

And we never know the positive impact that sharing it can have to those who hear it.

Sitting here in the aftermath, several days after sharing with those people – I feel empowered. I want to do it again.

It’s almost like an adrenaline rush.

And wouldn’t you know that at this time, my story was written about in a beautiful article by Cathy Krafve on her blog, and I was interviewed on her podcast.

It’s funny how God works and is always affirming us, isn’t it?

What we’ve been through -what we’ve overcome, the lessons we’ve learned and the strength we’ve gained along the way – it matters.

This world doesn’t need anymore “I’m fine,here’s-my-Pinterest-worthy-life baloney. It needs authenticity. It needs honesty.

There is a scarcity of vulnerability. What a powerful thing to share the “weakest” parts of you.

Because at the end of the day, those “weak spots” are actually where God’s strength shines brightest. Because He is glorified through our redemption and deliverance. His mercy and His power are exhibited through our journeys.

What an honor it is to be able to share that with another person.

That is evangelization at its most fundamental.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

117 thoughts on “The Scarcity of Vulnerability

  1. Beautiful!💞All very true, lovely lady. I’m glad you’ve found relief and a little bit more of your cloud’s silver lining.💞xx

  2. This is so true, great words, Caralyn. You wrote “No one shares the real. The raw. The messy and blemished reality below that curated surface.” It’s amazing how clear certain things become as you age, meaning me of course. It’s OK to cut loose a bit! 😎

  3. Vulnerability is a very key tool to unlocking the humility that allows us to be teachable by the Holy Spirit and those people who we value as influencers. It is not overly admired by many as people mistakenly feel pride elevates, but ““So the last will be first, and the first will be last.””
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:16‬ ‭NIV and “He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    1. Thank you so much Brian! Your right about that – humility is a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing that powerful verse! Hugs and love xox

  4. Blinding glimpse of the obvious, maybe? What is BBB if not vulnerable? THAT is why you’ve got 45,000+ subscribers! You share everything that is most personal from your anorexia history to reproductive issues… What’s that if not vulnerable?

    I understand; doing that anonymously is way different than a conversation at a bar or restaurant. But the signals were there on your blog. People gravitate toward genuineness! Kiddo, if you ain’t genuine, ain’t NO ONE genuine!! This is what drew me in too. I felt that much honesty about such a traumatic episode in your life deserved whatever support and encouragement I could give. And it has been nothing but a boon for me!

    Your speech in March – will it be online as in Memphis? Recorded? I’ve GOT to see it and hear your new stuff!

    I am so very happy for you as you continue to bloom in your continuing recover!!

    1. Hahaha oh gosh Jeff you’re too funny – thank you 🙂 yeah vulnerable and perhaps a little bonkers 🙂 hehe but in all seriously, thank you for this wonderful encouragement. Thank you! I sure hope it will be online! I’ll be sure to let you know!!! Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day, my friend! Big hugs to you and your girls! Xoxo

  5. I appreciate this so much! I think it is so important to allow people to see your humanness. Especially when we declare the power of Christ in our lives. If we want to show glory to God we have to start by being willing to show others that it is through God that we are healed. Not by our own strength, but his!

    1. Hi Brandon! I’m so glad this resonated with you! You’re so right – through God’s strength we are made new! Hugs and love xox

  6. I applaud authenticity!! The more transparent and genuine one is the more relatable!! I am loving your posts lately and our interactions with one another my friend!! Keep championing the healing from eating disorders especially anorexia. I told you that I too suffered for most of my life. You are a female empowerment warrior by sharing your story of strength, perseverance and faith in God. So awesome 🙌👏❤😊

    1. Thank you so much! You’re absolutely right about that – transparency and honestly definitely can resonate with others!! Thanks for your kind words of encouragement! Means the world! Hugs and love xox

  7. But he [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

    Happy (early) Valentine’s Day to one of the strongest women I have pleasure to meet. 😀 XOXOXO

  8. Caralyn, it is strange but true that the things we are most ashamed of becomes our greatest strength, when we are honest. I know that often we want to appear perfect, but people relate to the flaws more than something glossy and superficial. You are growing and appreciating who you are. Congratulations! Hugs and love! Happy Valentine’s Day of appreciating your uniqueness!

    1. You’re so right about that! When we are honest, we can turn those trials into triumphs! Gosh, I’m so touched by your encouragement. Thank you my dear friend! Hugs and love xox

  9. The ministry to which I’ve been called mostly to is to the youth, and here the Lord’s taught me that “transparency” is the key that unlocks their hearts. This I believe mirrors being vulnerable! What helps us to walk with this posture is coming to grips where we’ve been, embracing where we are, and pressing forward in Christ Jesus. Sharing our strengths and admitting and confessing our weaknesses is a perfect pairing, which is useful for healing and deliverance…

    Keep pressing Sis!

    1. You’re so right about that! Transparency is the key!! Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement!! Hugs and love xox

  10. We all have something that hurts us deeply inside; it is comforting to know that we do not journey through this life alone. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. You are an inspiration. Your blog reminds us that we can survive because God loves us and that it is okay to not match up to what society tries to tell us is “perfect.” Your soul is beautiful. Please continue sharing. You are an inspiration.

    1. Thank you so much Jenny!! You’re so right about that – we all have wounds, and sharing them can help us all heal together. Gosh – I am so touched by your kind words, thank you. Hugs and love xox

  11. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

    Caralyn, I never met the “basket case.” The only you I have encountered is a very strong woman who has great insights and opinions on everything from the Presidential election, to current events, to public trends. And who always points her readers to Jesus as our salvation and the One who walks through our hardships with us.

    That same strong, intelligent woman is the one people see when they meet you. Your Dad is correct. When you share the hardships you’ve come through, it only reinforces the strength they see standing in front of them. And now that you can see what the rest of us can see, keep sharing!

    Praying for you for 3/28. Be sure to let us know what time you’re speaking when you find out. And let us know when the second part of that podcast with Cathy is released. Stay focused on Him, my Friend! 😊

    1. On I love that verse so much. Thank you Kenneth, for this wonderful encouragement. I am seriously so touched! I certainly will keep you posted about PA! Thank you for the prayers! Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Xoxo

  12. reminds me of the lyrics of a Billy Joel song:

    Honesty is such a lonely word
    Everyone is so untrue
    Honesty is hardly ever heard
    And mostly what I need from you

    People like to hear the truth, so keep doing what you’re doin!

  13. The mountain that was once in front of us can become the pulpit from which we declare that in His strength we were able to overcome. God will use our willingness to be open and vulnerable to give someone else the strength to be able to rise of their valley.
    Blessings 💙😊

    1. Oh wow what a powerful thought! Thank you for that encouragement! You’re right! He will use it al for good! Hugs and love xox

  14. Your testimonies seal, reinforce and make permanent your healing, deliverance and breakthrough. They also birth other testimonies.
    So keep testifying at every opportunity. In our weakness His strength is made perfect. Through our humility, His grace is made to abound. When you are weak, then you are strong.
    Yes, keep sharing your story. And as you do, you will not only be Empowered but will empower others too.
    Bravo!

    1. Oh gosh thank you friend – I am so touched by your kind words:) sending you big big hugs today! Xox

  15. Yes, there is a scarcity of people willing to be real with themselves and others. The word “vulnerable” has a negative ring for many people. But I think your dad is right on! “It speaks to your strength.” Be real. Be honest. Don’t be afraid to share from your gut and from your heart. Most people are blown away by that because they are not used to it. When they say, “Hi, how are you?” They don’t even wait often to get an answer – let alone a gut-wrenching from-the-heart answer. Vulnerable and “endearing” fit in the same pocket of my heart. I love you for it, Caralyn. God bless you! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. Thanks Jan for the encouragement and great advice! So true!! Endearing is a great word 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  16. The feeling of vulnerability is an irrational fear that rests deep inside of all of us, in our subconscious mind we think we will be judged. One of greatest causalities of a culture is our willingness to be, striving to achieve a sense of perfection that is misguided, often leading to pride. It has made me, at times, place value on the wrong things. It has made me not be myself for fear I would fail in another’s eyes. Thank for you shining light on how the unwillingness to be vulnerable has become so pervasive in our society, how it begins, how it can hurt and perhaps how it can even be beneficial.

    1. Thanks so much Kim for this thoughtful response! You’re right – vulnerability really can be beneficial! Have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox

  17. you will have dissenters, but what does it matter, nothing changes the truth, we are all faulty, we all harbor doubt, but your truth can never really be taken from you.

  18. ♡ Don’t forget Goddess Everyone otherwise SHE WILL!!! Get Pissed; 2020 is A Year Of The Goddess so Step Up To The Plate Ladies

    …♡♡♡…

  19. Some people might think, “forget the past, move on, you ought to feel ashamed to speak about the ugly things from your past.” But that’s not God’s way. It’s just as you said, “we never know the positive impact that sharing it can have to those who hear it.”

    If nothing else it gives satan a black eye,
    Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

    Testimonies don’t come without tests. Some of us had doozies that almost took our lives, (physical & eternal) in one way or another.

    1. Thanks so much Tony for this awesome response! Testimonies don’t come without tests – wow so powerful!!! Hugs and love xox

  20. You know my friend. You hit the ball out of the park with this one. People wear so many masks nowadays they don’t even know who they are anymore. None of us are super heroes and we all fall short from time to time. But as the word says, Christ Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” So if you are lviing a lie you are bond to something or someone. Transparent is the only way to be. But we live in a sociey that has people afraid of being rejected and not fitting in. Personally, I like being the odd one out. It doesn’t limit my possibilities. Great post—Happy Valentines Day and have a blessed week.

    1. Thank you so much for this powerful response! Amen! The truth will make us free! Hugs and love xox

  21. Another great read from you.

    While reading, I am thinking of another encouragement but I just can’t find the words util I’ve found what you have written before you end, “Because at the end of the day, those ‘weak spots’ are actually where God’s strength shines brightest. Because He is glorified through our redemption and deliverance. His mercy and His power are exhibited through our journeys.”

    God bless you always and continue to be you – without pretension and not thinking of what people would think. This is also very timely as some of my friends were discussing almost the same topic last night.

    1. Hey friend! Aw thank you so much for his wonderful encouragement!! Amen!! He’s glorified through our weakness! Have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  22. Thank you for the encouragement. As I heal from years of trauma I am finding God is beginning to use my experience to benefit others. God has been a big part of my healing and others do need to know that. It is difficult to be vulnerable, to share a deeply personal past where I felt beaten down by life. Yet God used that experience to humble me, to deepen my faith in Him. Because of this I am more open to sharing my experience with people God places in my life, people who need to hear about his healing touch. Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring others.

    1. Thanks so much CG for this thoughtful response and for sharing your story. Yes!! People need to hear His power!! Hugs and love xox

  23. You might consider contacting a local Celebrate Recovery ministry. We sometimes have testimonies given by people who are not participating in the CR program but nonetheless have a story of how Christ has healed them and they’re just as impactful as any other we hear. Yours is particularly encouraging so I suggest locating one nearby on their .org webpage and let God use you to give hope to the hopeless.

    1. Thanks for this idea Rollie!! I’ll definitely check them out!!! Thanks for the heads up! Hugs and love xox

  24. A couple of days ago, I was talking with an ex-colleague. She decided to leave Dubai and return to her home country. She’d been through a lot with a rather difficult illness these past couple of years and she was talking about how it challenged her and it still continues to teach her every day. She now gives talks to encourage others with the same.
    In our conversation, I too shared how my friend passed away with the same illness and how I personally know two other friends who survived it and are how their lives were restored.

    What it meant was that I had an opening to understand her feelings, etc., in a way that maybe others never would. Even more, I was able to give her more encouragement.

    Being open doesn’t necessarily make you just vulnerable. You’re only as vulnerable as you feel you are. Being open also shows your strength. You will only put up a wall to protect something fragile. Something out in the open only means that it doesn’t need protecting. It is able to withstand whatever comes its way.
    Think of it this way.. Are you a pretty Ferrari, hidden in a garage because a sneeze could scratch the paint? OR are you an armored Abrams Tank; out in the open in the battle field?..

    Being open means that you are not afraid of the truth. Look at the current political situation? Every lie the Democrats have told has been exposed. Even though I

    1. Hey friend, Thanks for this thoughtful response. What a powerful story – sharing our hearts – and the trials we go through – it definitely bonds is. You were definitely an encouragement for her that day. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  25. A couple of days ago, I was talking with an ex-colleague. She decided to leave Dubai and return to her home country. She’d been through a lot with a rather difficult illness these past couple of years and she was talking about how it challenged her and it still continues to teach her every day. She now gives talks to encourage others with the same.
    In our conversation, I too shared how my friend passed away with the same illness and how I personally know two other friends who survived it and are how their lives were restored.

    What it meant was that I had an opening to understand her feelings, etc., in a way that maybe others never would. Even more, I was able to give her more encouragement.

    Being open doesn’t necessarily make you just vulnerable. You’re only as vulnerable as you feel you are. Being open also shows your strength. You will only put up a wall to protect something fragile. Something out in the open only means that it doesn’t need protecting. It is able to withstand whatever comes its way.
    Think of it this way.. Are you a pretty Ferrari, hidden in a garage because a sneeze could scratch the paint? OR are you an armored Abrams Tank; out in the open in the battle field?..

    Being open means that you are not afraid of the truth and that’s what people are looking for these days. Look at the current political situation? Every lie the Democrats have told has been exposed. Even though I’m not a huge fan, I would certainly see myself voting for Trump because he seems to boldly challenge others and expose himself to scrutiny. And the current polls suggest that people are looking for the truth. No matter how the media wants to cover it up and twist it, people want the truth and it will come out.

    God has turned your mess into a message. We need not call it a vulnerability.

    >> “They’re never going to want to associate with this basket case ever again.”

    Not necessarily.. I am honored to know someone like you. I am honored to call you, “Dear Friend”.

    Happy Valentine’s Day.

    1. thank you so much Miss Hope! I appreciate your kind words 🙂 I’m glad this resonated with you! big hugs xo

  26. That is awesome! You are right, people like vulnerability. I think because we are all vulnerable and seeing others able to share helps us build confidence in our own weaknesses. I found Jenny Lawson’s book Furiously Happy, and it helped me be more honest about my personal history. Then I found your blog, and it has done the same. While I am not yet as open as the both of you, I am getting there in my own do time. It it my firm belief that God allows us to struggle so that those who are strong enough can stand up and help those who cannot, or are too scared to do it on their own. Thanks for all you have shared, and do. God bless!

      1. thank you so much John! oh my gosh you are too kind. thank you friend 🙂 Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much William for your kind words of encouragement! you’re so right about that – we all can be a source of strength and help for others! i’ll have to check out that book – thanks for the recco! Hugs and love xox

  27. I just finished watching a Little House on the Prairie and thought you might enjoy this thought. The mom was talking to the daughter Laura, and said something like this, “God must like Laura Ingalls an awful lot. If he went to all the trouble to make laura Ingalls, why would he want her to act like anybody else?”
    After you insert your name (meaning anyone’s name) in place of ‘Laura’ I would dare to change “act” to “look like” or “be like”.
    Just thought I would share.

    1. oh awesome!! i’ve never read or seen it! I’ll definitely add it to my list! thank you for the heads up!!! how powerful! Hugs and love xox

    1. you’re so sweet, thank you for the encouragement. seriously, your affirming words make it not so scary to share!!! i greatly appreciate it! hope you’re having an awesome weekend! Hugs and love xox

  28. 148
      * 51. Allah says, “worship the two gods! – there is only one God – i
    just fear me! ”
      * 52. Everything that is in heaven and on earth is His and He always needs Him
    obedient to be. Is there anyone other than Allah to be afraid of?
      * 53. From Allah every blessing you enjoy, and as soon as your distress, what kind
    you happen to be asking him out loud again.
      * 54. And when He afterwards removes you from distress, some of you are the same hour of the Lord
    equates one with another
      * 55. to show ingratitude according to what we have given them. And
    enjoy, but, you really will know!
      * 56. Polygamists leave to those who know nothing, some of the food they give them
    We give. * Allah, you will surely be asked because you constantly make up lies.
      * 57. They attribute their daughters to Allah – praise be to Him! – and to yourself what
    desire. *
      * 58. And when one of them is told that his daughter was born, his face darkens and
    becomes depressed,
      * 59. Hides from people because of an accident reported to him; do you like this
    despised to keep her or to plunge her into the ground? How ugly they judge!
      * 60. Those who do not believe in the world are rusty traits, and Allah has them
    properties most sublime; He is powerful and wise.
      * 61. If Allah would punish people for their sins, nothing is alive
    He would not leave the earth, but, He would leave them until the appointed time, and when their deadline
    come, for one moment I cannot delay or accelerate it.
      * 62. They attribute to Allah what disgust they themselves feel * and
    their tongues tell the lie that the most beautiful reward awaits them; and there is no doubt about them,
    the fire is waiting; they will be the first to chase it.
      * 63. Allah Nam, We have sent messengers to the nations before you, but it is
    the shaytan represented their actions beautifully and he is now their friend, them
    suffering is unbearable.
      * 64. We are publishing a Book for you to explain to them what they are about
    they are diverging, and to be to the believers instructions and grace.
      * 65. Allah lowers the water from heaven and returns life to the dead earth! It is,
    indeed, proof for people who want to hear.
      * 66. You have a lesson in livestock, “We give you milk from the womb
    pure drink, which is made from grizzin in the rumen and from the blood – delicious to those who make it
    drink.
      * 67. And from the fruits of palm trees and vines, you prepare drink and pleasant food. It is,
    indeed, proof to those who have minds.

  29. So much insecurity & fear (of rejection) in the society these days. Honesty & vulnerability contribute to empathy. Accepting our checkered pasts, openly, allows other to be honest with us too. Then we do not spend hours, days, weeks, years pretending to be what we hope the other person(s) want us to be. Hey, if nothing else, the other person wants to keep shy of us, then we have not spent a lot of energy or time chasing a relationship which would fail eventually anyway. – Oscar

    1. thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this, Oscar! you’re so right about that – pretending to be someone we’re not is just downright exhausting!! such a powerful perspective. glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

  30. Amazing words, vulnerability is our truest essence no matter what age, sex or race… humans are vulnerable and admitting that is the true meaning of showing strength ❤️

    1. thank you so much! you’re so right about that — it shows a lot of strength!! glad you stopped by! have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox

  31. The people in my life I’m most grateful for are the ones who are vulnerable and honest with me. Because that makes it okay for me to be the same way with them. It really is a gift!

  32. I think it takes guts to put your cards on the table and show your vulnerability. Most people have empathy for others and will listen with open hearts. This post reminds me of Berne Brown’s talk on Vulnerability. Great post!😄👍

    1. Hey friend! oh my goodness thank you for this thoughtful response! I’ll have to check out Berne’s talk! Hugs and love xox

  33. Right on again. Vulnerability is the opposite of pride. Once we can make fun of ourselves then the walls of others will come down. Great post. Good luck in a March.

    1. Hi Brad! thank you so much 🙂 you’re right, i’ve never thought about that, but it really is the opposite of pride! Hugs and love xox

  34. I agree, but being vulnerable is also so scary! Not everyone is understanding or kind. On another random note I enjoyed the Taylor Swift documentary and was thrilled it opened up a way for me to talk with my kids about how we treat people. The themes from the show of judgement, bullying and how we talk about people- celebrities or no, was a great conversation to have with my teens.

    1. Thanks friend. You’re so right! That is such an important conversation to have with teens – that time of development can be so tough. Sounds like you’re an awesome parent!!! Glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

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