What I am writing about is nothing new-it’s not something I’ve discovered on my own. It’s universal knowledge and it lives in all of us.
Vulnerability is true strength.
Boxing has unearthed this knowledge in me. Boxing has allowed vulnerability to have a voice and be a powerful presence in my life. Boxing has taught me more about the weaknesses I possess and how they can be used powerfully and how acknowledging them allows me to develop more strength.
I was given the book “Daring Greatly” to read and my timing at opening it up came perfectly after The Artist and the Boxer Event The author, Brene Brown refers to Wholehearted people. She says Wholehearted people identify vulnerability as the catalyst for courage, compassion and connection. Each and every performer was a Wholehearted Person. They were engaged in their performance, in their passion, in their community. They were willing to take risks, brave the uncertainty of their performance and open themselves up to emotional exposure.
Boxers too are Wholehearted people. We are a people that are willing to expose ourselves for the greater good. Willing to allow others to live vicariously through us 3 minutes at a time. We are willing to be praised, criticized, condemned and heralded time and time again. We are willing to be the vehicles for feelings that people have a hard time accessing themselves. Boxers are no different than an evocative song or movie. Boxers just physically enact the daily interactions of all of our societies.
Announcers, people in the crowd, and all on lookers have their opinions. They hurl judgement and opinion around easily. It’s really no different in life. Folks on the outside verbalize their viewpoint based on what they see. A boxer must stand in the face of all of that and perform to their best ability.
According to Brene, Vulnerability is the core of all emotion. To feel is to be vulnerable, so to view vulnerability as weak is to believe that feeling is weak. Boxers have to know what they are feeling and contain the feelings so they can perform without stuff getting in the way. It never works to fight emotionally. It’s not weak to feel emotional, but it is a detriment to have the emotion rule your actions. When a boxer digs in, it isn’t really emotion they are digging into…..it’s the strength they developed from their everyday life to be vulnerable that they dig into. They actually dig into more vulnerability and risk getting hurt to perform at entirely new levels.
I have epic fails at staying vulnerable in life and in the ring all the time, but I keep on going for it, because I know I will get stronger and the failed attempts are just practice. I often want to shut all the doors I’ve opened because I anticipate what I might experience. The few times I’ve kept doors open and kept anticipation minimal are proof enough to me that vulnerability is key. The boxing matches like Castillo vs. Corrales and Gatti vs. Ward are further proof that vulnerability is worth the effort.