Show me your belly and I’ll show you mine.

“That’s a honey badger.  Be glad it’s running away from us, even the lions are afraid of it.”  That’s what our guide on a safari in Africa said as I watched the dark weasel like creature scurry away into the bush.  The guide went on to explain that honey badgers had such a thick skin that other animals couldn’t bite into them when trying to defend themselves, that the honey badger killed animals much larger than itself by going after their vulnerable bellies.

Sometimes, I think people are an awful lot like the honey badger, always on defense and looking for the weak spots in others.  I get why that is.  We live in a really negative mean world.  It’s hard not to get sucked into it.  We’re all just trying to protect ourselves, right?  The trouble is that negativity is like a virus that gets into us, makes us sick and spreads to those who we come in contact with.  It warps out thinking, poisons our hearts, darkens our creativity, and on and on.

If several years of therapy have taught me anything it’s that negative emotions like anger and distrust are really masks for our fears.  We’re pretty much afraid of everything.  We’re afraid of being hurt, losing, not being liked or accepted, of failure and worst of all, not being loved.  To protect ourselves, we cover ourselves in defenses that keep other people at bay.  The result is that we never give ourselves a chance to really know or be known by other people.  Instead, we make false assumptions, stop listening, are paralyzed to take chances and will never really be loved or accepted.  How can we ever expect those things if we don’t put down our defenses and truly let other people in?

Sure, there’s a huge risk in essentially letting other people see your vulnerability in showing them your belly.  But, the possible rewards far outweigh the risks.  It’s the place where the seeds of true friendship or love are planted.  It’s the place that our creativity is sparked.  It’s the place where we truly begin to live.  I refuse to ever go back to a life lived in fear and negativity, even if it means having to experience failure or hurt along the way.  Because, at the end of the day, to truly live and love requires us to sometimes fail and hurt.  For more on the subject of the importance of letting our vulnerabilities show, I highly recommend the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.  http://www.brenebrown.com.

I wish you lots of peace, love and good health.

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24 thoughts on “Show me your belly and I’ll show you mine.

  1. Very, very good. Our world has become more negative. Easy to fall into that trap,
    Thanks, Bev. You always give us something to ponder.

  2. Bev, this reflection is a call to arms, –a call to arms for an embrace of authentic essence. It seems a strange dichotomy, in this age when there is a clamor to “tell all” we really tell very little. Surface suffices for too many. We claim busy-ness, but you are so right, it is fear of exposure, hesitancy to reveal, and the overarching anxiety of being judged. Being kind, being honest, being here is what makes this life rich and indeed care-full. Open arms!!! What an excellent entry into your blog canon. Thank you for contemplative sparking! Pax

  3. Oh, this was excellent Bev…and I’ve been a huge B.Brown fan forever. Thanks for posting this and it certainly is something to “practice”…as well as talk about…this vulnerability. It takes a little courage too. I instantly recognize this in others when I meet it.

  4. Bev, I really love the way your blogs both make us think, and also comfort us. When I read this, I examined my role in the world. I thought about how to make a better impact by how I can live without fear. No matter what subject you write about, your words makes us all feel less alone. Thanks!

  5. I’ve never had that streak of negativity in me. Even though parts of my childhood were challenging (to put it mildly), I’ve never perceived the world in general as a mean place, or others as emotional predators – although I have siblings who insist people are prone to such. It leaves me to wonder if I’m an idiot, or if there’s a genetic link between how we react to life and interpret the actions of others. My expectations have always been low and curiosity high. Perhaps that’s part of my ability to embrace denial (against the urgings of Oprah to do otherwise). My grandmother taught me, “Learn to be grateful for everything. Even those things that hurt most.” I am not grateful for the hurts. But I am grateful for the lessons learned and surviving without angst in spite of – rather than because of – those difficulties. Fear- schemear. You are brave, Bev Prescott. You’re much braver than me. I know that. I bet you know that, too.

    • I’m grateful for the hurts because I don’t think I would’ve learned the lessons without them. It’s great to hear your perspective. You are a wise and inspiring woman. Have a great weekend.

  6. Thanks for the thoughtful blog. As I age I have made the conscious decision to remove negative people from my life. It is so easy to get sucked into the negativity and yet, when I look within, I have much to be grateful for and positive about. In this time of overwhelming deluge of news, it would be easy to believe that badness abounds but I refuse to bow to that belief. I’d much rather work on the process of goodness begets goodness.
    Have a great weekend.

  7. Bev, this blog could not have come at a more perfect time. kinda needed alittle reminder this week. I’ve learned my lessons, I think well, but sometimes “life” wants to suck you under. Your little blog was the perfect thing for me! Thank you

  8. Hmmm. Synchronicity. I just heard of Brene Brown this morning on Oprah’s “Soul Series” so I just looked her up in our library and ordered Daring Greatly. And PS, nice chat on the Barbell – looking forward to your first show.

  9. Bev, Your wonderful blog sparked a “ponder”.
    Gratitude seems to keep the “negativity virus” from settling into our spirit.
    Having a positive attitude and disposition keeps the Honey Badgers at bay. It is like a repellent.
    Showing ones vulnerabilities is like the Heart Glue. It is what brings us together with compassion and love.
    Thank you for giving all of us an invitation to open our bellies, our arms and our hearts to you.

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