By Shannon Stoby
It makes me laugh when I hear people equate vulnerability with weakness. You can be sure that those who draw that line have never tried it. To show yourself for who you really are, to speak your truth even when it is terrifying, is among the bravest things anyone can ever do.
Vulnerability requires resilience, and is also an essential part of it. To be vulnerable means to put yourself out there, risking the criticism that comes with being seen. Allowing your voice to be heard, when so many voices are yelling for attention. It is so much easier to blend in, to succumb to popular opinion, to conform to the trends of the day. It’s easier…but it crushes your soul.
Bear in mind that those who criticize the vulnerable often do so from either a space of fear or secret admiration. Fear of new ideas, fear of those bold enough to speak of them. Wishing that they were brave enough to speak their own truth.
The funny thing is, the things that make us feel most vulnerable are also the things that connect us. Who doesn’t have secret fears, insecurities, and shame? Who hasn’t felt broken and small and worthless? Who hasn’t endured failure and humiliation? Only those who haven’t lived.
These are the things that when unexpressed, keep us in that space of being small, of being less than we are capable of being. They eat us from the inside out as we hide from those uncomfortable emotions, posting our smiling selfies, pretending our lives are perfect and we’re invincible. Ironically, the great pretenders and the greatest critics are often those who secretly hide the most.
The only recovery comes from doing it all again. From having the courage to feel into the fear and taking the chance again. From celebrating your courage, whatever the outcome, and having compassion for your wounded self. From recognizing when the wounds are old, holding space for the parts of you that wish to stay hidden, and knowing that you will survive.
Vulnerability and resilience, thus, exist in a continuous loop. You must be resilient to risk being vulnerable; and you must again be vulnerable in order to recover. The beautiful, terrifying, inevitable dance of a fully human experience.
By: Shannon Stoby, PT, MScPT
Shannon is a Physical Therapist with an interest in helping her patients achieve holistic healing from whatever ails them and achieve optimum functioning in pursuing their passions.
Shannon graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Physical Education with distinction, and followed with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy. She is licensed with the College of Physical Therapists of Ontario and is a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.
Shannon has trained extensively in John F. Barnes Myofascial Release (MFR), and this is the focus of her practice. She has worked with patients with mental illness, has trained in women’s health treatment, and is a sports enthusiast; MFR allows her a means to assist with all of these issues in a meaningful way. She has also worked across the lifespan, with experience addressing the health concerns of older adults. Through her experience in work and in life, she has come to understand that there is more to healing than just the body. While physical health is paramount, the roles of the mind and the soul in health and healing are of equal importance.
Shannon is excited for the opportunity to work with the talented team at IHI, and looks forward to working with you, in wherever the journey may lead.