Live Barefoot Strong: The Courage and Power of Vulnerability

Why do we wear shoes?

It isn't because we think ourselves too strong, too adaptable, too capable... It's because we don't. We wear shoes because we think we need the arch support, the protection, the stability, the predictability. We place our trust in shoes everyday. After all, the world is a dangerous place, and we're fragile, we say to ourselves. By wearing shoes, we are able to tune out of potential small hindrances and focus our energy on what really matters. The problem is that shod feet are also, generally speaking, weak feet. This is also true in our conversations and relationships. 

In human interactions, everyone is capable of putting up walls. From avoiding eye contact, to redirecting conversation, to having a rough exterior--a mere facade of toughness--illusion of strength is abundant. These cues are not symbols of strength, they are attempts to avoid pain by putting our trust in our walls, in our conversational "shoes." What is missing is the courageous strength of vulnerability. 

Only when I am confident in myself--strong enough in my own being--do I open myself up to risk. I must know more of who I am and not be afraid of the people or circumstances surrounding me to let my guard down. This also means that I must trust my own body, my own instinct and intuition, and my own experience to open up and share my heart. I must see myself as bigger. I am more than the sum of another's reaction, I am more powerful than the challenges that lie before me, and I am strong enough to offer myself up to others and offer my bare feet to the hard ground.

It turns out that strength is built not by the illusion of protection, but by the courage to be vulnerable.

I live barefoot because I trust that I am capable, adaptable, powerful. I run barefoot because I trust my body and desire even more strength and power to be expressed. I live barefoot in my interactions because I want to experience others in deep and meaningful ways. A barefoot way to be looks like the courage of vulnerability, a quiet strength that forms yourself and others with greater power and self-expression.

Live barefoot strong: It takes courage to be vulnerable, but it's the only kind of strength that matters. 
Benjamin FaderComment